Dersim: A paradise on earth

Known for its high mountains, Dersim is an important and holy city for Kurds with its history and ancient past.

The territory of Dersim has been a security shelter and home for those who have lived in that region for centuries. The attack of the rulers in these lands have not broken the resistance of the people living here. This is the land of the mountains, the places of Seyit Rıza, Alişer and Zarif.

These places are the homeland and land of thousands of Kurdistan martyrs. It is the land of Sara, Beritan, Polat, Munzur and thousands of militants of the Freedom Movement. In these holy lands, the legendary commander Zilan carried out a sacrificial action against the Turkish state in 1996. This action hit the enemy's heart like a sledgehammer.

The Munzur and Mercan Mountains, which cover the north of Dersim and the south of Erzincan have a height of 3,600 meters, to end at Bingöl’s provincial border. The waters of the mountains flow from the north to the Euphrates and from the south to the Murat stream and Avareş. Munzur Springs, one of the hidden paradises of the earth, are located in the north of the village of Zeranîg and the outskirts of the village of Ziyaret.

Dersim in the'History of Kurdistan' books is describe as follows: "According to the belief of our legendary leaders, Munzur is the milk flowing from the breasts of our goddess Anahit. When the tribes fight among themselves, the tribes in the region visit the Munzur springs and drink milk (water) and peace is achieved between them."

Whenever I have the opportunity, I visit this sacred land and the home of the rebels every year. Amed is very hot, the thermometer shows 43 degrees. We are on our way to Dersim with friends on our annual leave in Amed. We arrive in Elazığ which envies nothings to Amed as for heat. We hit the Pertek road without stopping. We cross the dam by ferry to get to Pertek side. We travel with the sounds of March. At this very moment, the phrase ‘Where there is no sea, the people should use the name March for hope’ comes to mind.

After passing the dam, Dersim mountains greet us with all their majesty. After the heat of Amed and Elazığ, one feels cool here. We continue on our way to Dersim center and from there to Pülümür. It is not possible for those who travel to Dersim to not come across Munzur, Pülümür or Peri stream. We stop on the Pülümür road. The water of Pülümür stream flows from the mountains creating a visual feast with the different vegetation. Undoubtedly, the waters flowing from the mountains and between the rocks conferes Dersim the beauty of spring.

After a short break, we head towards the Munzur mountains and the plateaus in the region. Snow spots catch our eye in Buyer Ana and Meydan mountains. The tulips that grow on the outskirts of Dersim in March and April add a different beauty to the nature. Women's labor can be seen in every field in the region. Almost all of the shopkeepers are women.

According to researchers, there are more than 13 thousand plants in Turkey and more than three thousand of these plants are endemic plants. There are 1,600 plants in Dersim, and 293 of these plants are endemic.

After Pülümür, we go to Dersim center and head towards Ovacık. Before reaching the center, we pass the Peace monument.

After Dersim center, we turn to Ovacık. Dersim is also famous for its honey. This is because of the different flowers that grow in Dersim. The bans imposed by the governor affect husbandry and agriculture.

The occupying Turkish state targets Dersim constantly with military operations but also with projects destroying the landscape and nature.

Munzur springs are sacred places for Alevi people. Yet, the area is under the blockade of soldiers and police. However, despite all the attacks and blockades, Dersim continues to preserve its heavenly beauty.