Saint George Kilisesi
Diyarbakır, Turkey

The structure known as Saint George Kilisesi (Church of Saint George) sits along the eastern edge of the Citadel of Diyarbakır, where it abuts the city's retaining walls and overlooks the Tigris Basin to the east. The foundation date of the building is unknown, but certain features such as the use of muqarnas point to renovations well after the Muslim conquest of the city. We know that the building also changed hands, for the Artuqid sultans of Diyarbakır used the building as a palace, and the Ottomans repurposed it again as a storehouse and prison.

The basalt and brick building consists of two domed blocks: a larger rectangular block on the west end and a second, slightly smaller block adjoining it to the east. The main entrance is a slightly projecting portal on the west facade, and is flanked by two windows. 

The main portal gives onto the first (west) domed block, which consists of a large central chamber that was once covered by an ovoid dome. The dome was elevated on a drum supported by squinches that rested in turn on eight pointed arches forming an octagonal base. The dome collapsed in antiquity and was given a pitched roof, which was in turn removed and the chamber left open to the elements in the early 2000s. The pointed arches supporting the drum open onto iwans on the west, north, and south sides, and smaller corner bays covered by squinches in between these iwans on the northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast sides. The arch on the east side of the chamber is filled in except for a small doorway that leads onto the vestibule of the east chamber. An ambulatory of small, brick-domed bays surrounds this central space on the west, north, and south sides, communicating between the rears of the iwans and corner bays.

The east chamber accessed through the eastern arch of the first domed chamber is a long rectangular domed space flanked on its north and south sides by arcaded aisles five bays long, each with a window. This room terminates on its east side in a large recessed iwan that overlooks the river valley beyond. 

The site is reported to have sustained minor damage in the 6 February 2023 earthquake.1


1 Büyükyıldırım, Oğuz. 2023. “Earthquakes Caused Slight Damage to Hatay Archeology Museum.” Arkeonews. October 2, 2023. Archived at:


Sinclair, T. A. Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey, 3: 192-193. 4 vols. London: The Pindar Press, 1989.

Diyarbakır, Turkey
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St. George Klisesi
Church of Saint George
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