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Mardin Tourism And Travel Guide
6.3° C / 43.3° F
April to May
1 to 2 Days
Mardin Airport (17 kms)
Diyarbakir Railway Station (85 kms)
Mardin is an East-Turkish city bordering the country of Syria. While tourism in Mardin is not big, the historic significance this region has is a powerful attraction and makes it a hidden paradise. The city's history dates back to the bronze age. In 14th century BC, it was absorbed by the Assyrian empire and subsequently fell into the hands of many rulers like Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Seljuks, Mongols and more. The city was built on a steep slope emerging from between the plateau of the Tigris River. The views of the city from afar are stunning and the views from the top of the city of the surrounding landscape are also breathtaking. Read this travel guide to Mardin, a city rich in history, culture and hospitality, to know more.
How To Reach
Mardin is located in the southwest of Turkey and is not very well connected to the other parts.
The best way to get there is by local flight, which takes 4 hours from Istanbul. To get to Istanbul from India, you can fly through Turkish Airlines - there are daily departures from Mumbai and Delhi. From the airport, you can take a taxi or dolmus up to Mardin, which takes another 30 minutes as the airport is 20 km away from the city.
Mardin is not yet fully developed as a tourist city. Hence, the roadways too, aren't quite as efficient. If you are looking for public transport, you are likely to find buses up to Urfa which is connected by national highways. From Urfa, you can take a dolmus or taxi to Mardin. If you want to drive or hire a private vehicle from Istanbul, it would be best to have a stopover at Konya or Ankara, as a direct route would take over 15 hours.
Mardin is not connected to other major cities of Turkey by rail. It does have a small train station but it is not in service. Travelling to Eastern Turkey from Istanbul is a long affair. You can take the High-Speed train to Ankara and then the Güney Express to Diyarbakir. From Diyarbakir, you can take a dolmus or private vehicle and drive to Mardin which is a little over 1-hour drive (85 km). You can spend up to 48 hours to get the right combination of trains and vehicles to reach Mardin from Istanbul.
The old city of Mardin is situated on top of a hill and it would take you 30-40 minutes if you were to hike it. The best way to reach it is to travel by the Dolmus up to its entrance and then travel on foot as the roads are quite narrow and vehicles cannot pass. There are frequent services that run from the new city to the old city.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
The city of Mardin has a typical Mediterranean climate where the winters are cold and the summers are hot.
Spring (March to May):
The spring months have fantastic weather and are one of the best times to visit this city. The cool breeze and sunny days will cheer you up. You can expect the average temperature to be 24°C by May. However, there is a chance of occasional rain. An important festival that takes place during this period is the Mardin Cherry Festival. You can gear up for some fun-filled festivities if you visit the city when the festival is on.
Summer (June to August):
The ripe summer heat can be quite overbearing with temperatures as hot as 40°C. However, the upside is that the city is not flooded with tourists even in summers, making it a good choice if you want to beat the crowd. Bright sunny days with no chance of rain is the weather you can expect.
Autumn (September to November):
The fall months are also quite pleasant and the temperature ranges between 35°C and 19°C as you get nearer to winter. It could rain a few days, but it isn't anything to be worried about. Since there is a lot of walking involved while visiting Mardin, the weather is very suitable during these months.
Winter (December to February):
The weather during winter is quite cold and the temperature averages 4°C. However, since the main activity in Mardin is roaming the architectural and historic remains of the old city, it is still possible to enjoy a holiday here during winter. Especially if you like the cold and the occasional snow.
Things To Do
Mosques & Churches:
Mardin has many beautiful churches and mosques. Explore them for their historic and architectural impact on Eastern Turkey's culture. The architectural influence is a mixed blend of different cultures and periods from Byzantine, Ottoman, Seljuks, Mongols, Assyrians and others. Some of the names of places you can visit are Ulu Mosque, Forty Martyrs Church, Mor Şmuni Kilisesi, Monasteries in the Tür Abdin region, Medreesis Kasımiye & Zinciriye and Erkulu Mosque.
Dara Mesopotamia Ruins:
Dara is an ancient fortress city and was founded in 505 AD by the Romans. The historic event of Battle Of Dara brought it into limelight. The remains of graves and the Roman aqueduct are definitely worth visiting the site for, amongst many other things. Archaeological work continues at this site and it is located 30 km south-east of Mardin.
The uniqueness of the village of Hasankeyf is in the fact that it might be submerged underwater very soon if a proposed dam is built in the near future. So time is of the essence here to visit this picturesque village and get great views of the river Tigris which cuts the city in the middle.
Being a historic city, a visit to the museums is a must to learn more about the culture, lifestyle and history of Mardin. Some amazing Assyrian and Bronze age artefacts are on display at these museums along with a vast collection of photographs. Sabanci City Museum and Mardin Museum are the most important museums here.
Stroll around the lanes of Cumhuriyet Caddesi, which is the main street of Mardin, and turn into any of the alleys that you feel look interesting. There are many shops and you could easily spend a couple of hours here. A popular souvenir is any item with the Shahmeran symbol (queen of snakes). You can find items from earrings to bags with the symbol on it. Handmade soaps are another popular buy along with filigree silver.
Local wine from Eastern Turkey used to be quite famous and is an age-old tradition with the Assyrians. One of the best places to pick up some local wine is in the Midyat district of Mardin province.
For some authentic Turkish cuisine, visit Cercis Murat Konagi restaurant, which is in Birinci Caddesi. If you're looking for something fancy, try out Seyr-i Merdin or Al Sahan. Seyr-i Merdin also has great vegetarian and vegan options.
For a taste of food and wine (wine is not served in many of the restaurants), visit Erdoba Evleri located in 1st street. For some delicious coffee and snacks, visit Delmar Restaurant. This restaurant also has live music and beautiful views so opt for the outdoor seating. A local delicacy which is quite famous here is Kaburga Dolmasi (Stuffed lambs ribs) and a must-taste for all meat-lovers. Sadik Kunefe is popular for its out-of-the-world desserts.