An enormous new dam in northeastern Turkey, which was built on the Coruh River in Yusufeli, Artvin, has begun to fill its reservoir, slowly submerging the town despite years of protests by locals and environmental groups. The town’s 7,000 residents have been relocated by the government to newly built apartment blocks nearby. In the old settlement, which was disconnected from the land, roads, streets, and alleys remained at the bottom, and most of the buildings that were submerged in the water became invisible. The Yusufeli Dam rises 886 feet (270 meters) above the Coruh River (also referred to as Chorokhi), and its hydroelectric power plant is expected to begin producing electricity in May 2023.
Most of the buildings that were submerged in the water became invisible in Yusufeli, Turkey
Those who witnessed the moments when their district, which was moved for the 7th time in its 153-year history, was buried in water with memories, watch the place where they were born and raised for the last time from afar. Those who come to see the submerged town from outside the city experience emotional moments. Some residents talked to DHA, saying that his house and garden submerged underwater, the shopkeeper Muzaffer Cellat stated “Here, we are watching our past, our 55-year-old house and garden that has been flooded. I can hardly stop myself from crying. I worked as a shopkeeper for 55 years. Currently, the water has reached the first floor of my house.” Another resident Sadenur Tamyürek said “I watch our memories buried underwater with sadness. I look at our past life. Our 40 years have been submerged. Now we are trying to get used to a new life in the new settlement.”
At a height of 275 meters, the dam is the tallest in Turkey and the fifth-tallest dam of its kind in the world. Rising water from an artificial lake has gradually submerged the village of Yusufeli, making authorities relocate the district for the seventh time. The Yusufeli Dam and its Hydroelectric Power Plant Project in the Eastern Black Sea region have started to hold water, with electricity production expected to start in May 2023.