Adiyaman (the ancient Perre or Pordonnium) is a city in southeastern Turkey, capital of the Adiyaman Province. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Turkey. The population rose from 100,045 (1990) to 178,538 (2000) (census figures).
The city had the Arabic name 'Hisnimansur' officially until the year 1926, but as this name was difficult for Turks to pronounce, the people were referring the city as 'adi yaman' which means 'tough name' or '(the place) with the tough name' in Turkish. In 1926, this term was adopted as the official name of the city.
The area has been inhabited as far back as it's possible to discover. Research in the cave of Palanli 10km north of Adiyaman show occupation in 40,000 BC and other digs in Samsat reveal continuous occupation through the stone and Bronze Ages.
From 900BC onwards came waves of invasions from Assyrians, Persians, and Macedonians until the Commagene kingdom was founded in 69BC. This was the civilisation that built the statues on top of nearby Mount Nemrut. The capital was in Samsat (Samosata) but the town of Adiyaman was a walled city of the Commagenes. The city walls of Adiyaman have been restored and replaced many times since.
The Commagene kingdom lasted until the Romans came in 72AD. Yet more campaigns and invasions followed and Adiyaman was controlled by Byzantines 395-670, Ummayads from 670 and then Abbasids 758-926. Then the area returned to Byzantine control during the period of the Crusades 859-1114. The Arabs returned from 1114 to 1204 and finally came the arrival of the Turks. The Arabic name for the castle and town was Hisn-i Mansur.
Turks moved into the area from 1114 onwards and for most of the 1200s was settled by the Selcuk Turks often disrupted by Mongol invasions. From 1298 to 1516 the town was under the control of the Mameluks. Adiyaman was brought into the Ottoman Empire by Selim I in 1516, but local power often rested with the Dulkadirogullari tribe of Turkmen people that settled here.
The city of Adiyaman provides shops and infrastructure to an agricultural region watered by the River Euphrates. It is not an industrial city, people riding mules and donkeys are still a common sight. The Ataturk reservoir is near the city and with more investment the irrigation this could become a richer agricultural zone. The people are religious and conservative; it is hard to find a beer in Adiyaman, or other social amenities like cafes, cinemas, and theatre. The cuisine is typical of south-east Turkey, including dishes like cig kofte and Mara-style ice-cream.
The Turkmen identity persisted into the 20th century although today Adiyaman is inhabited by a cosmopolitan mixture of people from other parts of Turkey. There is a small town feel to the place far warmer than the rambling mess that has become of bigger cities like nearby Urfa.
The folk dances of Adiyaman are well-known, .
Adiyamanspor are a minor league football team.
Places of interest
There is some passing tourist trade, people coming to see Mount Nemrut usually stay here, and the countryside around is pleasant too.
The caves of Pirin (ancient city of Perre) are . from Adiyaman. These are a burial ground dating back thousands of years BC. The sights include the ruins of the city and burial caves carved into the rock.
Richard Talbert, Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, (ISBN 069103169X), p. 67.