The city of Batman has such a name not inspired by the comic book superhero, but from a river.
For most visitors, Batman can only recall a single image: a superhero with a belt full of weapons, and living in Gotham City. But if you ask a Turkish, Batman certainly reminds them of many other things: a river, a city or even a province. And none of that is related to or inspired by DC Comics’ comic characters.
Batman city – capital of Batman province – is located in Anatolia region, southeastern Turkey. It is located on a plateau near the confluence of the Batman and Tigris rivers. Originally, Batman was a small village called Iluh with a population of about 3,000 people. Then, in the 1940s, it was discovered that the oil field around Iluh, and the place was growing rapidly. The population exploded over the next few decades. In 1957, the village changed its name to Batman, after the name of the nearby river.
The River Batman was formerly known as the Kalat, meaning “bride” in the Syrian language of the people living in the area. Later, the name of the river was translated into Greek as Nymphius and was given that name until the 18th century. No one knows when the name Batman was born. Perhaps from the 19th century, it is likely that the name Batman first appeared in international literary works.
The ancients believed that Batman was a shortened word for Bati Raman – the name of a nearby mountain. Bati means west in Turkish, Raman is “the joy of the Kurdish” or “god”. Besides, Batman was also a very popular weight measurement unit in the Ottoman era.
Batman City has been well known since 2008, when the city government announced to the media that it would sue Warner Bros and Christopher Nolan – producer and director of the Batman superhero series The Dark Knight. There is only one Batman in the world, and it belongs to Turkey. They assert that the filmmakers were wrong by not consulting with the owners and that the US producers used the city name without prior notice. This threat of litigation, however, went nowhere, as the Batman comic first appeared in 1939, long before the city started using the name.
According to the experience of the tourists who have visited the city, there are not too many things for you to explore and enjoy. The outskirts of the city have some Roman ruins, but these works are rated blurred compared to other monuments that visitors can find in Turkey.
Due to its proximity to the Iraqi border, the city is home to a large Kurdish population. This is the ideal place for visitors to learn about Kurdish culture if you want to know more about Iraq. The people of Batman are extremely open when it comes to Kurdish issues. This is the only place where you can find this atmosphere, as this topic is still taboo with Turkey in general amid a sensitive political context.
And like many other cities in the country, Batman is not a hot spot to party. It is very difficult for you to find pubs here. One of the famous restaurants is Labor Women, where you can enjoy tea, breakfast and donations to support disadvantaged women in difficult circumstances.
One of the easiest ways to get to the city is to use one of Turkish Airlines’ daily nonstop flights from Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. Alternatively, you can also fly low-cost Pegasus Airways from Sabiha Göçken Airport, on the Bosphorous Strait located in the Asian part of Istanbul.