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The historic Shamran Canal faces extinction


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The Shamran Canal is disappearing day by day. According to citizens, the main problem is neglect. The Van State Hydraulic Works (DSI) official, on the other hand, attributes the depletion of the canal to the use of the water source as drinking water. The historical canal is not only a water canal, but a vivid history in the memories of everyone living in that region: “They have done great harm to our history and our people. We all learned to swim on this channel.”

The historical Şamran Canal (Şamran-Menua Canal), located in the Edremit district of Van, has reached the lowest water level in recent years. According to the citizens, Edremit, where historical fruit trees grew, turned into a pile of rocks as the water level decreased in the Shamran Canal.

The canal, which has a great history, is very important for the people of the region; This canal gives life to its lands.

Brief history of the channel…

B.C. The Urartian King Menua, who reigned between 810 and 786, is building a canal that has survived to the present day, which is his greatest achievement in order to minimize the difficulties of the mountainous geography in which his country is located. This canal is also considered a marvel of water engineering in the world.

The spring water in Mejingir Village of Gürpınar District of Van is transported to the city center through the historical Şamran Canal built by King Menua. This city on the skirts of Van Castle and the mountains and plains on the canal route take on a lush look thanks to this canal.

There is also the song “Şamîranê” written on behalf of the Shamran Channel.

Although King Menua added inscriptions to various places while building this canal, the information about how long and how it was built is not included in the written sources. The information that 300 workers were employed during the construction of this canal and that each worker was given 100 gold is mentioned in the song ‘Şamîranê’ written in Kurdish:

Me cot kesha behra Wane,

Mala bavê Shemîrane,

Sêsed pale wê berdanê,

Mala bavê Shemîrane,

Every pale gê sed zêr danê,

Shamran Canal, which is about 51 kilometers long, descends from 1760 meters to 1700 meters. Although it is not known why her name is Shamran, according to a fairy tale in Armenian mythology, Shamram (Shamran) is an Assyrian queen. At the same time, according to mythological information and inscriptions, King Menua had terraced vineyards and gardens built for his daughter Tariria around this canal.

Edremit, where these terraced vineyards and gardens are located, unfortunately changes its green color to yellow due to the decrease in the water level in the canal today and historical trees are drying up. The main reason for the decrease in the water level is that the spring water feeding the canal is transported to the city center of Van as drinking water.

‘Most of the trees from the Armenian era have dried up’

Şadan Yendim, a resident of Edremit district, begins his speech by reminding that their district is a popular place. Stating that Edremit has suffered a lot over time, Yendim said, “Over time, great damage has been done to our district. Many wrong decisions were taken at the level of both central and local governments. We have had a water problem for a long time. This region between Edremit and Van Castle owed its greenery to this canal. Unfortunately, our channel is currently empty,” he says. Saying that they also benefit from the village fountain in the district along with the canal, he states that by taking this water into storage as drinking water, they lose another source and that some of the water is transferred to the tank and some of it is wasted. He adds that most of the trees left over from the Armenian period have dried up.

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‘We learned to swim in this channel’

Stating that he was very upset because of the cutting and drying of these trees, each of which is a date, Yendim said, “They have done great harm to our history and our people. We were people who were engaged in agriculture, but because of wrong policies, we started to buy all products. We had to give up agriculture, they turned our town into a huge pile of rocks,” he says. He also criticizes all the authorized institutions, especially the Municipality of Edremit, on this issue because although they have made meetings with the municipality many times before, no solution to the water problems has been found. Yendim said, “This water shortage has been going on for 10 years. We all learned to swim in this channel. But now the scum, cutting off the water, giving the remaining water to the hydroelectric power plant is destroying this channel.”

‘The water of the canal is flowing from the HEPP to the lake’

Nesimi Uzan, a resident of Edremit district, states that the Shamran Canal was lands before and it was cleaner back then. But over time, this water starts to get dirty with the garbage. Emphasizing that their district is very productive, Uzan says that they owe this efficiency to the canal: “Unfortunately, our water problem has not been solved through dialogues. Already, some of the water coming into the canal is transferred from the HEPP to the lake. The flow of water into the lake is wasted. I think it would be better if they found a solution to this. They should actually do that, but they don’t.”

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Translator :Akif coşkun

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