Mountain goats on the streets of Dersim

The streets in the Northern Kurdistan province of Dersim are quiet because of the Corona pandemic. Mountain goats have been sighted on the streets in the district of Çemişgezek. These shy animals enjoy a special status in the Alevi faith.

The streets in Dersim are quiet, most people follow the call to stay at home because of the Corona pandemic. The unusual silence has tempted mountain goats to come to the district of Çemişgezek. Inhabitants of the town explain that the shy animals used to be seen only outside settlement areas and that the sight makes them happy.

Wild animals and especially mountain goats have a sacred meaning in the Alevi faith. The province of Dersim is the region with the highest proportion of people of the Alevi faith. Alevism is a belief in a natural society, according to which the relations between all living beings are based on mutual recognition, on the basis of a communal, solidary and sharing society. All peoples are equal, regardless of their ethnicity and religion. Living beings, i.e. humans, animals and plants, are considered sacred. The mountain goats enjoy a special status in Alevism, since they are worshipped as herd animals of the Prophet Xizir (Hızır). According to the Alevi doctrine, the brothers Xizir and Ilyas lived as prophets and drank the "water of immortality" to come to the aid of those in need. According to the faith, Xizir comes to the aid of the needy on land, Ilyas, on the other hand, comes to the aid of those at sea.