Yuvacali Village, Sanliurfa
Yuvacali Village is the site of our accommodation and the starting point for tours of the area.
Today the population in Yuvacali is overwhelmingly Kurdish in ethnic origin and the language that you will hear is Kurdish and not Turkish.
The once abundant water supplies in the village dried up with the building of the Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates and the implementation of the GAP project. The village now suffers from severe water shortages, with water being brought from a depth of approximately 100m below the surface for irrigation, while household water is piped into the area. Households did not receive piped water until 2007. As for electricity, it came to Yuvacali in 1982, but power cuts are still frequent.
While most children attend school, adult literacy in the village runs at around 50%.
There is a primary school in the village which takes children from the age of 7. The pre-school unit, taking children from the age of 4, opened in 2009, and has been entirely equipped by the efforts of visitors to the village through the Nomad Tours home stay scheme.
Most people in Yuvacali work in agriculture and are self-sufficient in many foodstuffs. Some younger people work away and send remittances back to the village. However, the average income is still less than a dollar a day, putting these people well below the poverty line. The contribution that guests make to households in the village makes a huge difference to the families involved in the scheme.
The village, which was known by its Kurdish name of Hilun until the 1970s, has been settled since the dawn of civilization. Evidence for this settlement has been found in the mound which towers over the present village.
Sumerian cuneiform tablets have been found in the mound, while archaeological excavations in the neighbouring village of Nevali Cori have indeed uncovered remains from 9,000BC. There is ample evidence of prehistoric as well as Roman sites in the area.
Its more recent history consists of settlement by Jews, Armenians and Kurds. The remains of an Armenian village can still be seen.
Yuvacali (pronounced Yoovajala) is situated right in the middle of ancient Mesopotamia, with the Tigris to the North-East and the Euphrates to the South-West.
This village of several hundred inhabitants lies about four miles from the nearest town (Hilvan), and is just off the main North-South Diyarbakir-Urfa highway.
Yuvacali is within easy distance of Mount Nemrut, Sanliurfa, and Diyarbakir.
Numerous historical sites and a Yezidi shrine are to be found in the vicinity.
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