Receding waters in Turkish dam reveal vacated village, historical castle

A controlled receding of waters at the Yusufeli Dam in Turkey’s Black Sea region has revealed the Tekkale village and its historical castle flooded in 2023 for the dam project despite years of protests by locals and environmental activists. Locals watched and reminisced as their former village reemerged.

Duvar English

As water levels at the Yusufeli Dam in Turkey’s northeastern Artvin province dropped on Feb. 28 due to controlled drainage, the flooded Tekkale village and its historical castle reappeared. 

The relocated locals gathered around the reservoir area to see their former village and reminisce about their old lives, according to reporting by the Demirören News Agency (DHA).  

Mithat Demirkıran said he and his family came to freshen their memories. “(Our memories) were submerged underwater,” he sighed. 

When wife Nazire Demirkıran arrived at the village as a bride, there were talks of a dam construction. She was sad to see her husband’s childhood home disappear. 

Another villager Güriner Durur said that they could now see her neighbourhood with the lowered water levels. “I remembered my childhood memories,” she added. 

The Yusufeli Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant was built upon the Çoruh River as Turkey’s highest dam. Construction began in 2013, and the reservoir was flooded in 2023 despite the local community’s uproar. 

The waters swallowed seven villages whose 7,000 residents were relocated to the newly built settlement nearby. 

Several shop owners were detained after they closed their stores as part of the 2022 protests against the construction of the dam and the relocation of the district.