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Things To Do In Mardin
The historic city of Mardin is not as popular but well worth the trip to Eastern Turkey; simply for the beautiful architecture left behind by the Romans, Seljuks, Ottomans, Persians, Assyrians, Syrians and other cultures & civilizations that graced this land. The old city was built on the slopes of a steep hill near the Tigris river, and the view from the building tops are quite amazing. Among the many things to do in Mardin, just exploring this historic city on foot is by far the most exciting. The city does not get too many tourists (compared to the rest of Turkey) which makes it a gem hidden in plain sight.
Visit the many Mosques & Churches
Similar to most of Turkey, Mardin is also filled with beautiful Mosques and churches from the Ottoman, Byzantine and other periods. From the beautiful Great Mosque of Mardin to the many Monasteries in the Tür Abdin region. It doesn't matter if you are religious or not, the architecture and historic significance of these buildings will amaze you.
Also, visit the Medresesis (theological college) Kasımiye & Zinciriye and immerse yourself in its spiritual ambience.
Relive History In The Archaeological Site of Dara
The ancient city of Dara was a Roman Fortress once upon a time. It was founded in 505 AD and abandoned by 639 after the war between the Romans & Persians. There are many ancient remains to see, including 1500-year-old grave sites and an extensive aqueduct system. The best part is that Archaeological work still continues to happen here, so you never know what you might stumble upon next! The ruins are located around 30 km south-east of Mardin.
Explore The Village Of Hasankeyf
Hasankeyf is a village located some 100 km from Mardin. What makes it picturesque is the river Tigris that runs through the city, dividing it into 2 halves. On top of the cliff here is a Castle and also a few cave dwellings. From here you can also get amazing pictures of the city and the river. The city was founded by the Romans as a border post between the Romans and Persians.
Get Lost In The Catacomb Of Midyat
The history of Midyat dates back to the 9th century BC. But not much of the old city remains. What is beautiful to see and walk around in is the labyrinth of narrow streets with stone buildings. It is located 66 km east of Mardin and makes for an interesting visit especially if you are visiting Mardin for more than 1 day.
Take A Tour Of The Museums
The Mardin Museum and Sabanci City Museum are the 2 most famous museums in Mardin. Both extremely important to learn more about the history of Mardin. It's also a great way to beat the heat in the afternoons! Both museums have a good collection of artefacts and photographs. All captions are in English & Turkish which makes it easy for tourists, however, a guided tour would make the experience more informative.
Drink Local Wine
The wine from this region goes way back in history and is several centuries old. In fact, in ancient times, the wines made locally were popular far and wide even outside the regions of Eastern Turkey. While the spread of Islamic culture in this area did put a halt to the popularity of the wines, some Assyrians continue the tradition. While the wines aren't all that cheap, you should definitely experiment with a few local wines and tantalise your taste buds.
Hike Up To The Old City
If you're feeling adventurous, do a full hike from the bottom to the top of the old city. Steep and demanding for sure, but a great way to explore the city. Don't try this during the summer months though, as the heat can be quite exhausting. Take in the beautiful views of the city and its surrounding landscapes as you make your way right to the top. Do this leisurely and spend time visiting all the historic and architectural spots in the old city.