|• Mayor||İhsan Güler (BDP)|
|• Kaymakam||Murat Büyükköse|
|• District||2,730.89 km2 (1,054.40 sq mi)|
|• District density||23/km2 (59/sq mi)|
Başkale (Armenian: Ադամակերտ Adamakert; Kurdish: Elbak) is a town and district located in south-eastern Turkey in Van Province. There is one municipality in the Başkale district, the town centre, which was established 1937. The neighbourhoods of the town of Başkale are: Tepebaşı, Yeni mahalle, Camii-Kebir, Samandöken, Cevkan, Kale, Hafiziye, Tarım and Yakınyol.
Urartians named the town Adamma (c. 900-300BC). The Armenians called it Adamakert (c. 100BC-18AD), meaning "Adam's city". Since the late 19th century AD Turks have called it Başkale (rendered in Anglicised form as Bashkala or Pashgala), meaning "head fortress", 'head' referring to its location at the head of a valley.
Başkale is situated 20 km (12 mi) west of the Turkey-Iran border. 138 km (86 mi) of the national border is on the east and north-east of the Başkale district. Başkale shares district borders with Yüksekova district of Hakkari Province to the south, Saray and Özalp districts of Van Province to the north, and Gürpınar district of Van Province to the west.
Başkale is situated 2460 metres above sea level, in the valley of the Great Zab River (Zapsuyu), and the town stands on the eastern slope of the south eastern Taurus Mountains. The majority of the 2,599 km2 (1,003 sq mi) Başkale district is mountainous. The agricultural portion is only 355 km2 (137 sq mi), approximately 14% of the total area. Başkale is enclosed by Mount (Yiğit)/Haravil (3468 m) in the east, Mount Başkale/İspiriz (3668 m) in the west, and Mount Gökdağ (3604 m) in the south-east. The mountains of Mor, Haravil, Mengene and Çekvan are in the district of Başkale. Other geographical features in Başkale include the Karasu river, and the plateaus of Nebirnav, Kevçikan, Hanasor, Çekvan, Aşkitan (Ülya), Perihan, Meydan, Harinan, Terazın, Sülav, Medgezeren, Pistekan, Herevil-Şirez, Derevan, Derik, Bağarük, Düava and Mengen.
Başkale was founded by Urartians as the town of Adamma. Since the 2nd century BC it was known in Armenian language as Adamakert (Ադամակերտ) and was the main fortress of the Medz Aghbak district of the Armenian kingdom. Since 385 AD control of the area alternated between Parthia and the Roman Empire. In the 3rd century AD the Sassanid (Persian) Empire took control of district from the Roman Empire.
After the division of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire took control in the 6th century. In 645AD Arabs took control of the Başkale area. In the period of the Arsacid and Bagratuni dynasties' rule, Adamakert was taken back by the Armenian kingdom from the Persian and Arabians. During the Arsacid era, Adamakert was a part of Armenia's Aghbak district and was a possession of Vaspurakan's Artsruni dynasty. The 10th century chronicler, Tovmas Artzruni, wrote that the dynasty had originated in this region, and mentions the city-fortress of Adamakert as the residence of the dynasty (believed to be the site of present-day Başkale).
After the Battle of Malazgirt in 1071, control passed to Seljuk Empire. After 1100, Ahlatshah beylik (Sökmenoğulları) controlled the area. After a short period of Ayyubid control and the Mongol attack of 1245, the region was controlled by Anatolian Seljuks, Ilkhanate, and Timur. After the overthrow of Timur in 1386 by Kara Koyunlu federation of Turkoman tribes, the Safavids took control at the beginning of the 16th century. When the Yavuz Sultan Selim defeated the Safavids in the Battle of Çaldıran, Van and surrounding area was included in Ottoman Empire, but control returned to the Safavids several times after the Battle of Çaldıran. In 1548, during the period of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman, the Ottoman Empire finally took full control of the area.
In 1829, the German orientalist Friedrich Eduard Schulz was murdered near Başkale, along with four servants. Schultz had been traveling in the area since 1827, recording evidence of Urartian culture. Başkale became the capital town of Elbak kaza of Hakkari sanjak in the Ottoman vilayet (province) of Van. After the constitution of the republic of Turkey in 1923, its name was changed to Başkale and it became a part of Van Province.
One of many events in the string of tensions prior to World War I was a massacre of approximately fifty Gawari Assyrians by Muslims on 30 October 1914 at Başkale in the local government centre. Armenians of Başkale were later deported and massacred by Turks and Kurds during the Armenian genocide (approximately 1915-1918).
In 2000, the population of the town of Başkale was recorded at 14,114, and the population of the district was recorded at 55,563. Approximately 80% of the district speaks a Kurdish dialect. The population structure shows a tribal construction, with the breakdown of ethnic groups given as follows:
|Villages of Başkale district, Van Province|
Açıkağıl | Akçalı | Albayrak | Aşağıküme | Aşalan | Atlılar | Aydemir | Azıklı | Barış | Başkale | Belencik | Beşocak | Bilgeç | Böğrüpek | Bölekli | Büklümdere | Çakırdoğan | Çaldıran | Dereiçi | Deringeçit | Ekecek | Erek | Erkonağı | Esenyamaç | Eşmepınar | Gedikbaşı | Gelenler | Güleçler | Güroluk | Güvendik | Ilıcak | Işıklı | Kaşkol | Kavurgalı | Keçilioba | Kızılca | Kocaköy | Koçdağı | Konuksayar | Kovalıpınar | Köprüağzı | Mahmutabat | Oğulveren | Ortayazı | Ortayol | Ömerdağı | Öncüler | Örencik | Örenkale | Özpınar | Saçan | Sallıdere | Savaşköy | Tahılköy | Tınazlı | Uğurlu | Yanal | Yavuzlar | Yolmaçayır | Yukarıdallı | Yukarıdarıca | Yukarıdikmen | Yurttepe
Stock-breeding is dominant in the economy of Başkale district. Smuggling also is a widespread activity in border areas. There is no industrial activities except small workshops. There was a Marble production plant at Koçdağı village, but in 2001 was closed after some test production. Distribution of the population according to their economical activity;
|Product||Area (Ha)||Production (ton)|
There is one local radio station Pınar FM in Başkale.
In Başkale district; ratio of educated people to total population is; 65% (November 2006). Due to the demographic and traditional conditions, in the past,; majority of women and girls are not sent to schools. Educated people level among women is dramatically low.
In Başkale district;(November 2006)
Başkale has a football team named as Başkale Spor in amateur league. Vali Abdülkadir SARI Football Stadium was opened in 1999 which has 1,500 seats. Başkale has also a gymnasium also finished at 1999.
Otlu peynir (a kind of cheese which include natural vegetables which differs with region) is a well known product of Başkale. Otlu peynir of Başkale includes these local natural vegetables; Devin, Mendi, Spi pancar, Pinger, Çatır, Nane, Handekuk, Spilinge, Kaşım, Kurat, Sirik, Gunbizin, Sılkuke, Sinameki, Mendi, Sirmo.
Başkale has many local varieties like as; Ayranaşı, Pancarlı Pilav, Keledoş, Keşkeş, Roasted Pancar, Pokin soup, Grara aki soup, Şoğra, Şeleke, Vireke, Tahinik
Başkale is best known historically for being an Armenian pilgrimage center to Saint Bartholomew Monastery. It is also known for the military fortress of Adamakert. The now-ruined fortress was once occupied by a Kurdish bey (chieftain) and lies a short distance uphill from the township. The fortress is a good example of Urartian architecture.
There is one hospital and 5 clinics at Başkale district, with a total; 21 doctors and 36 health officers(midwife, nurse, health technician) in charge of health service in district.
There are two hotels in Başkale.