Batman (pronounced as baat-maan, not like the name of the superhero; Kurdish: Iluh) is a city in south-eastern Turkey. It is the capital of an important oil producing province.
A village of a couple of hundred people in 1950s when petroleum was discovered in the surrounding mountains, Batman has grown ever since, having a population of several hundred thousands today. Large numbers of immigrants from surrounding region also contributed to quick urbanization, usually with no respect to building codes. Therefore, most of the city is slums surrounding a plaza by the railway station in the downtown and an oil refinery south of the station.
The city's name is, unsurprisingly, entirely unrelated to that of the famed fictional superhero. Instead, it is theorized to be a shortened form of Batı Raman, i.e. "Western Raman (Mountains)" where petroleum was first found in the vicinity. In fact, the city's name actually postdates that of the comic book, as the character Batman first appeared in 1939, while the former village of Iluh was only renamed in the 1950s. This didn't stop the then mayor of Batman from threatening to sue Warner Bros. in 2009 (after the release of The Dark Knight), though no suit actually materialized.
- By rail from Istanbul and Ankara via Diyarbakır by Güney Express, which has its last stop in Kurtalan, about 40 km further east from Batman. It departs three times a week. The same train departs from Batman on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays around 9-10AM in the morning on its way back to Istanbul, passing via Diyarbakır (about 2 hours from Batman). A bed in a sleeper car costs slightly more than 60 TL between Istanbul and Batman. Credit cards are accepted in Batman station. Trains to Istanbul get really overcrowded during early August because of huge numbers of seasonal workers taking the train to get to hazelnut orchards around Adapazarı and Eastern Marmara on the way (short of two hours from Istanbul—the last stop of the trains), and it is impossible to find a ticket further than Diyarbakır during that season without booking/buying the ticket in advance. Even if you can find a ticket, the ride is very uncomfortable, and because of the huge numbers of passengers getting off the train in almost each stop—even if it is in the middle of nowhere, where normally no one ever gets on or off—to replenish their water from station fountains, trains are extremely delayed, and it takes almost two full days to get to Istanbul. Avoid if you are not deadly on budget.
- There is also a regional airport near Batman.
- Buses are available from various cities across Turkey, especially frequent are the services from surrounding cities such as Diyarbakir and Tatvan (at least one daily; it costs 15 TL pp from Tatvan). The bus station (otogar) of the city is located in the northern outskirts, about one to one and a half hour walk away from the city centre/train station.
- One of the most popular things for tourists to do is taking pictures of things with the word Batman on them, such as the highway sign at the entrance of the city.
There is an ATM (of Halkbank) located on the side of the small square near the train station.
- Hasankeyf on the banks of Tigris River to the south is, unlike Batman, a village full of historical sights and impressive views of nature. About 40 minutes away.