By Justin Mays:
Located in Southeast Turkey, Mardin carries many centuries of history worth exploring. Its streets, stone houses, churches, monasteries, white gold buildings across the plains to present-day Syria, underground cisterns, and old castles are worth the visit.
Present-day Mardin has people from different cultural backgrounds that reside in the city. You will be able to pick Turkish, Arabic, Syriac, Kurdish, Torani, and Armenian speakers through their conversations.
Today’s blog will help you explore Turkey’s most scenic and historic city, Mardin.
Exploring Mardin: Turkey’s Most Historic City
The cobblestone streets and the brick structure of this ancient city mesmerize visitors.
Once an olive oil production and trade center, this location also has an ancient warehouse dating back to the sixth century. This confirms the city's importance, given the significance of olive oil currently.
A Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate, Deyrulzafaran (House of Saffron) is a must-see. It is adorned with hand-embroidered Bible scenes, past Syriac inscriptions, wooden litters, thrones, and other religious paraphernalia.
This site was built specifically for the worship of the sun. There are guest rooms for devotees who wish to attend a service in Aramaic.
Sakip Sabanci Mardin City Museum
Sarkis Lole, a famous Armenian architect, is responsible for the famous post office, which was used as the set for a famous Turkish miniseries, “Sila.” Originally a private home built in 1890, the post office has a grand terrace that overlooks the Sehidiye Mosque.
In 1889, Lole built calvary barracks that now house the Sakip Sabanci Mardin City Museum. The exhibitions of the museum showcase the daily life of the past and present life.
Located at the center of Mardin, the Ulu Cami consisted of only two minarets initially. Today, only one of them stands.
This 11th-century mosque was constructed in 1176. Its minaret can be seen no matter where you are in Mardin.
Church of the Forty Martyrs
Mardin has one of the Syriac Orthodox churches, Kirklar Kilisesi, which was constructed in 569 C.E. Known as the Church of the Forty Martyrs due to the relics of martyrs brought in 1170, it has golden walls and an alluring domed bell tower with a cross. Regular services still take place here as Aramaic Christians have been coming for the past 700 years.
If you are a wine lover, make sure you try some made by local Assyrians using ancient traditions and local grapes.
The public also has an opportunity to visit underground cisterns which go down 82 feet. Once Mesopotami’s irrigation system, some believe that it was once a prison, and locals call it Zindan.
Mardin has a lot to explore, and recently, excavations by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage unearthed artifacts dating back to the second and third centuries.