Kızılırmak River

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For other uses, see Kızılırmak (disambiguation).
Kızılırmak River in Avanos.jpg
Kızılırmak in Avanos
Country Turkey
 - left Devrez River, Gök River
 - right Delice River
Cities Sivas, Kırşehir, Kırıkkale
 - location İmranlı, Sivas Province
 - elevation 2,000 m (6,562 ft)
 - coordinates 39°48′N 38°18′E / 39.800°N 38.300°E / 39.800; 38.300
Mouth Black Sea
 - location Bafra, Samsun Province
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 41°44′04″N 35°57′23″E / 41.73444°N 35.95639°E / 41.73444; 35.95639Coordinates: 41°44′04″N 35°57′23″E / 41.73444°N 35.95639°E / 41.73444; 35.95639
Length 1,355 km (842 mi)
Map of the Kızılırmak watershed
Official name Kizilirmak Delta
Designated April 15, 1998 [1]
geographical position of Kızılırmak

The Kızılırmak (Turkish for "Red River"), also known as the Halys River (Ancient Greek: Ἅλυς), is the longest river entirely within Turkey. It is a source of hydroelectric power and is not used for navigation.


The Kızılırmak flows for a total of 1,355 kilometres (842 mi),[2] rising in Eastern Anatolia around 39°48′N 38°18′E / 39.8°N 38.3°E / 39.8; 38.3 (Kızılırmak source), flowing first to the west and southwest until 38°42′N 34°48′E / 38.7°N 34.8°E / 38.7; 34.8, then forming a wide arch, the "Halys bend", flowing first to the west, then to the northwest, passing to the northeast of Lake Tuz, then to the north and northeast, where it is joined by its major tributary, the Delice River (also known by its Greek name Cappadox) at 40°28′N 34°08′E / 40.47°N 34.14°E / 40.47; 34.14, and after zigzagging to the northwest to the confluence with the Devrez River at 41°06′N 34°25′E / 41.10°N 34.42°E / 41.10; 34.42, and back to the northeast, joining the Gökırmak before finally flowing through its delta into the Black Sea at 41°43′N 35°57′E / 41.72°N 35.95°E / 41.72; 35.95 (Kızılırmak mouth). Dams on the river include the Boyabat, Altınkaya and Derbent.


The Hittites called it the Maraššantiya. It formed the western boundary of Hatti, the core land of the Hittite empire. In Classical Antiquity, it was the boundary between Asia Minor and the rest of Asia, and also the boundary between Pontos and Paphlagonia. As the site of the Battle of Halys or Battle of the Eclipse on May 28, 585 BC,[3] it was the border between Lydia to the west and Media to the east until Croesus of Lydia crossed it to attack Cyrus the Great in 547 BC. He was defeated and Persia expanded to the Aegean Sea.


The river water is used to grow rice and in some areas water buffalo are kept.

In popular culture

The historical fiction manga Red River is named after and largely set in the Kızılırmak basin, during the age of the Hittites.


  1. "Ramsar List". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  2. Turkish Statistical Institute (2011). "Land and Climate". Turkey in Statistics 2011: The Summary of Turkey’s Statistical Yearbook, 2011. p. 2. 
  3. Historically it was known as the Battle of Halys; it has since been renamed by some as the Battle of the Eclipse, as the first premodern battle which can be dated with certainty due to the eclipse which brought about its sudden end.

External links