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Mardin, Mardin Province, Turkiye

Mardin, TurkiyeMardin is a city in southeastern Turkey and the capital of Mardin Province known for the Artuqid architecture of its old town, and for its strategic location on a rocky hill near the Tigris River that rises steeply over the flat plains.

The old town of the city is under the protection of UNESCO, which forbids new construction projects in order to preserve its historic façade.

The city survived into the Syriac Christian period with the name of Mt. Izala (Izla), on which in the early 4th century AD stood the monastery of Nisibis, housing seventy monks. In the Roman period, the city itself was known as Merida),from a Neo-Aramaic language name which translated to "fortress".

Between c. 150 BC and 250 AD it was part of the kingdom of Osroene, ruled by the Abgarid dynasty. Byzantine Izala fell to the Seljuks in the 11th century.

During the Artuqid period, many of Mardin's historic buildings were constructed, including several mosques, palaces, madrasas and khans. Mardin served as the capital of one of the two Artuqid branches during the 11th and 12thcenturies.

The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell in the Mongol invasion sometime between 1235 and 1243, but the Artuqids continued to govern as vassals of the Mongol Empire.

During the medieval period, the town - which retained significant Assyrian and Armenian populations, became the centre for episcopal sees of Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Church of the East, Syriac Catholic, churches, as well as a stronghold of the Syriac Orthodox Church, whose patriarchal see was headquartered in the nearby Saffron Monastery from 1034 to 1924.

Mardin, TurkiyeIn 1451 the Kara Koyunlu besieged the castle of Mardin, damaging the city after their failed attempt to take the stronghold. About half a century later, in 1507, Ismail I of the Safavids succeeded to capture the city and the castle.

A Venetian merchant who visited the town that same year wrote that there were still more Christian Armenians and Jews in the city than Muslims.

A few years later in 1515, the city yielded to the Ottomans, who were bitter rivals of the Safavid dynasty, though the castle still remained under the control of Ismail I.

One year later, the Ottomans under the leadership of Selim I besieged the city anew and eventually annexed it in 1517. During this time, Mardin was administered by a governor directly appointed under the Ottoman Sultan's authority.

The city experienced a relatively tranquil period under Ottoman rule, without any significant conflicts or plights. European travelers who visited the city in the late 18th and early 19th centuries gave highly variable estimates of the population.

But they generally indicate that Muslims or 'Turks' were the largest group, with a sizeable Armenian community and other minorities, while Arabic and Kurdish were the predominant languages.

That period of peace was finally halted when the Ottoman Empire came into conflict with the Khedivate of Egypt. During this time the city came under the rule of insurgents associated with the Kurdish Milli clan.

Mardin, TurkiyeIn 1835, the Milli tribe was subdued by the military troops of the Wāli of Diyarbekir Eyalet, Reşid Mehmed Pasha. During the siege, the city's Great Mosque was blown up.

Between 1847 and 1865 the city's population suffered from a notable cholera epidemic, with the exact number of fatalities yet unknown. During World War I Mardin was one of the sites of the Assyrian and Armenian genocides.

On the eve of World War I, Mardin was home to over 12,000 Assyrians and over 7,500 Armenians. During the course of the war, many were sent to the Ras al-'Ayn Camps, though some managed to escape to the Sinjar Mountain with help from local Chechens.

Kurds and Arabs of Mardin typically refer to these events as 'fırman' (government order), while Syriacs call it 'seyfo' (sword). After the Armistice of Mudros Mardin was one of the Turkish cities that was not occupied by the troops of the Allied Powers.

In 1923, with the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Mardin was made the administrative capital of a province named after it. Many Assyrian survivors of the violence, later on, left Mardin for nearby Qamishli in the 1940s after their conscription in the Turkish military became compulsory.

As the Turkish Government subdued the Sheikh Said Rebellion in 1925, the first and the fourteenth cavalry division were stationed in Mardin.

Mardin industrialized significantly during the 1990s, when inhabitants moved in greater numbers to the modern parts of the city that were developing on lower ground at the foot of the old city hill.

Mardin, TurkiyeThrough a law passed in 2012 Mardin became a metropolitan municipality, which took office after the Turkish local elections in 2014.

The city has a significant Arab population. The city is located near the Syrian border and is the center of Mardin province.

The old city is built mostly on the southern slope of a long hill topped by a rocky ridge. The slope descends towards the Mesopotamian plain.

The top of the ridge is occupied by the city's historic citadel and the newer parts of the city are located on lower ground to the northwest and in the surrounding area and feature modern amenities and institutions.

The current Mardin Airport is located to the southwest about 20 kilometres or 12 miles from the historic old town. The city's population is predominantly Kurdish and Arab, with significant communities of Syriac Christians (Assyrians).

Official census data does not record the number and proportion of citizens from different ethnicities and religions, but a 2013 study estimated that around 49% of the population identified as Arab and around 49% identified as Kurdish.

The city can be divided into three parts: the Old Mardin (Eski Mardin) which is predominantly populated by Arabs with some Kurdish and Syriac families, the Slums (Gecekondu) which are mainly inhabited by Kurds that have escaped the Kurdish Turkish conflict in the 1980-1990s and the New City (Yenişehir) where the wealthiest people live. The civil servants are mostly Turks, which constitute the minority of the city.

Historically, Mardin produced sesame. Mardin province continues to produce agricultural products including sesame, barley, wheat, corn, cotton, and a number of others.

Angora goats are raised in the area and there is small industry that weaves cotton and wool. Agricultural enterprises are often family-based, varying in size.

Mardin, TurkiyeThe city was also historically an important regional trading center on the routes between Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and northern Syria. Nowadays, trade with Syria and Iraq depends on political circumstances.

Mardin has often been considered an open-air museum due to its historical architecture. Most buildings use the beige colored limestone rock which has been mined for centuries in quarries around the area.

Mosques (Camii's)

Great Mosque (Ulu Cami) of Mardin: The historic main congregational mosque of the city, probably first built in the 1170s under the Artuqids. It was destroyed by artillery explosions during Rashid Pasha's siege of the city in the early 19th-century and rebuilt afterwards, probably along similar lines as the original building.

Only the north wall of the original mosque remains. The original Artuqid minbar (pulpit), made of wood, has also survived. An inscription on the base of the minaret records its original construction date as 1176, but most of the minaret above the base was rebuilt circa 1892, probably well after the reconstruction of the prayer hall.

Sultan İsa (or Zinciriye) Medrese: One of the most impressive Islamic monuments in the city, dated to 1385, during the reign of Artuqid sultan Al-Zahir Majd al-Din 'Isa (r. 1376–1407). Built as a madrasa, it also includes a mosque (prayer hall) and a mausoleum, arranged around two inner courtyards.

The mausoleum was likely intended to be Sultan 'Isā's burial site, but he was never buried there after his death in battle. It has an imposing entrance portal carved with muqarnas, and two ribbed domes over the mausoleum and the mosque that are visible on the city's skyline.

Kasım Pasha (or Kasımiye) Medrese: Another major Islamic monument begun by Sultan 'Isa but left unfinished upon his death in 1407. It was completed in 1445, under Akkoyonlu rule.

It is located to the west, just outside of the town. It has a large central courtyard, a monumental portal, and three domes arranged near the front façade.

Emineddin Külliyesi: A külliye (religious and charitable complex), believed to be the oldest Islamic monument in the city, founded by Emin ed-Din, the brother of Sultan Najm ad-Din Il-Ghazi (r. 1115–1122).

Il-Ghazi may have finished the complex after his brother's death. The complex contains a mosque, a former madrasa, a fountain, and a hammam (bathhouse).

El-Asfar Mosque: Believed to be the remains of a former madrasa known as the Necmeddin Medrese (Nahm ad-Din Madrasa). According to tradition, sultan Najm ad-Din Il-Ghazi was buried here, placing its foundation to the early 12th century, although only parts of the original building remain.

Şehidiye Mosque: Originally a madrasa, probably built in the reign of Artuqid sultan Najm ad-Din Ghazi (r. 1239–1260) or earlier. Heavily restored in 1787–88. The minaret was rebuilt in 1916–17.

Latifiye Mosque: An Artuqid mosque dated to 1371, with a minaret added in 1845. Şeyh Çabuk Mosque: A mosque of uncertain date, built no later than the 15th century (the Akkoyonlu period) and restored in the 19th century.

Reyhaniye Mosque: Mosque of uncertain date, probably of the Akkoyonlu or early Ottoman period in the15th-16th centuries.

Hatuniye Medrese or Sitt Ridwiyya Madrasa: Believed to have been built by the Artuqid sultan Qutb ad-Din Il-Ghazi II (r. 1175–1184), with a mausoleum that may have been intended for the sultan's mother, Sitt Ridwiyya. The building now serves as a mosque. Both the prayer hall and the mausoleum contain finely-decorated mihrabs.

Mardin, Turkiye


Mor Behnam or Kırklar (Forty Martyrs) Church

Mor Hananyo Monastery, also known as the Saffron Monastery

Meryem Ana (Virgin Mary) Church: A Syriac Catholic Church, built in 1895 as the Patriarchal Church, as the Syriac Catholic see was in Mardin up until the Assyrian genocide.

Red (Surp Kevork) Church: An Armenian Apostolic Church renovated in 2015.

Mor Yusuf (Surp Hovsep; St Joseph) Church: An Armenian Catholic Church.

Mor Behnam or Kırklar (Forty Martyrs) Church: A Syriac Orthodox Church with a niche containing the remains of Mar Behnam. The building dates from the mid-6th century.

In 1293 it became the Syriac Patriarchal Church. Residential annexes for the Patriarchate were expanded in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Mor Hirmiz Church: A Chaldean Catholic Church in Mardin. It was once the Metropolitan cathedral of the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mardin, prior to it lapsing in 1941. Nevertheless, One Chaldean family remains to maintain it - the building, or at least its overall design, may date from the 16th or 17th century.

Mor Mihail Church: A Syriac Orthodox Church located on the southern edge of Mardin.

Mor Simuni Church: A Syriac Orthodox Church with a large courtyard. The building may date from the 12th century.

Mor Petrus and Pavlus (SS. Peter and Paul) Church: A 160-year-old Assyrian Protestant Church, recently renovated.

Mor Cercis Church

Deyrü'z-Zafaran Monastery, or Monastery of St. Ananias, is 5 kilometers southeast of the city. The Syriac Orthodox Saffron Monastery was founded in 493 AD and is one of the oldest monasteries in the world and the largest in Southern Turkey, alongside Mor Gabriel Monastery.

From 1160 until 1932, it was the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, until the Patriarchate relocated to the Syrian capital Damascus. The site of the monastery itself is said to have been used as a temple by sun worshipers as long ago as 2000 BC.

Mardin, TurkiyeOther landmarks include: Citadel: The citadel occupies a long ridge at the city's highest point.

It was probably first built under the Hamdanids in the 10th century, but its present walls were likely rebuilt in the Akkoyonlu and Ottoman eras, possibly with some reuse of Artuqid materials.

Up until the 19th century it was densely inhabited, but is now occupied by a military radar station. The interior includes the remains of a small mosque.

Mardin Museum: an archeological museum dedicated to the city's history, opened in 2000, housed in the former Syriac Catholic Patriarchate building constructed in 1895, next to the Meryem Ana Church.

Mardin Post Office is an example of traditional domestic architecture. Houses in Mardin tend to have multiple levels and terraces to accommodate their sloping site, giving the old city its "stepped" appearance from afar.

They are typically centered around an internal courtyard, similar to other houses in the region. Larger houses, as well as other public buildings, tend to have stone-carved decoration around their windows.

The courtyard of larger houses is often on the lower level, while the upper levels "step back" from this courtyard, giving the house an appearance similar to "grand staircase" when seen from the courtyard.

In the 2014 local elections, Ahmet Türk of the Democratic Regions Party was elected mayor of Mardin. However, on 21 November 2016 he was detained on terror charges after being dismissed from his post by Turkish authorities.

Mardin, TurkiyeA trustee was appointed as mayor instead. In the Municipal elections in March 2019 Türk was re-elected.

But he was dismissed from his post in August 2019, accused of supporting terrorism. Mustafa Yaman, the Governor of Mardin Province was appointed as acting mayor.

If you are planning to organize a visit to the southeastern region, Mardin is at the beginning of the first provinces you will encounter. Every inch of land in this city smells of history.

Of course, you need to visit these many places in Mardin, but first listen and I will tell you about an important place. Today I will tell you about the white water in the Province of Mardin, which is flooded with visitors.

Beyazsu, which is located between Nusaybin and Midyat districts of Mardin Province and gives respite from the heat of Mardin - it is definitely is a place to go and visit.

When you are looking for a place to cool off in the heat of the summer, the people of Mardin will recommended this place to you. Set out to go there and you'll reach there in about 2 hours.

In Beyazsu have lunch that is served from gazebos built on the water where you can listen to the sound of the water flowing loudly. You'll not be able to get enough of watching the water flow while sipping your tea or eating lunch. It is a place to go for a full picnic atmosphere in the region - Mardin's drinking water is sourced from here.

It is located on the highway between Midyat and Nusaybin districts. You can go to Nusaybin from Mardin province and from there it is on the way to Midyat.

Mardin, TurkiyeMardin is a beautiful old town built on the slopes of a hillside, topped with a castle, overlooking the vast sun-baked Mesopotamian plains.

Mardin is one of the oldest settlements of Mesopotamia and of the world and, with the marks remaining of all periods in history, it is almost like a summary of the history of mankind.

The name Mardin means "fortress" in Syriac. Mardin was known as Izalla in the late Bronze Age when it was part of the Hurrian Kingdom of Mittani. It was conquered by the Assyrians and incorporated into their empire.

After the Assyrians, it came under Median, Babylonian, Parthian, Seleucid, Roman, and Persian-Sassanian rule. In 442 CE, a plague epidemic devastated the city, after which it became abandoned.

It was rebuilt 100 years later by a Roman-Byzantine general Ursiyanos and incorporated into the Byzantine Empire until it was conquered by the Arabs under Caliph Omar in 640 CE.

It was taken by the Seljuks in 1089 and governed by the Artuqid dynasty until the invasion of Timur. After Timur, it was disputed by the Turkmen federations of the Karakoyunlu (with black sheep) and the Akkoyunlu (with white sheep).

The latter were defeated by the Safavid Shah Ismail who established a powerful Shiite state. In their campaign against Shah Ismail, the Ottomans under Sultan Selim I the Grim (Yavuz Sultan Selim) took control of the city and castle in 1517.

In 1923, it was incorporated into the Turkish Republic as the administrative capital of the same-named province.

Mardin has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa, Trewartha: Cs) with very hot, dry summers and chilly, wet, and occasionally snowy winters. Mardin is very sunny, with over 3000 hours of sun per year.

While temperatures in summer can easily reach 40 °C (104 °F), because of its continental nature, wintry weather is still somewhat common between the months of December and March, and it usually snows for a week or two. The highest recorded temperature was 42.5 °C or 108.5 °F.

Lonely Planet - Mardin, Turkiye

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