province of Mardin, overlooking the Mesopotamian Plain,
has preserved the old-style carving in its houses. Dating from 1385, the
Sultan Isa Medresse is an interesting, beautiful Turkish
monument with its magnificent carved portal. The Kasim Pasa Medresse,
is also significant for its dome of beautiful stonework and the Ulu
Mosque with its well-decorated minaret, is another sightseeing
spot. On a hill, 7 kms east of Mardin, you will see something you do not
expect: Deyrulzaferan, a Syriac- Jacobite monastery. Several
kilometres further, there is another Monastery, Deyrelmur
dating from the 5th- century. If you would like to see the best examples
of Artutid architecture then you have to head for Kiziltepe,
21 kms south of Mardin, 13th- century Ulu Mosque with its fine mihrap
relief and beautifully decorated portal. At Hasankeyf which
is on the borderline with Batman province, you will see the ruins of the
ancient 12th- century capital of the Artutids. The bridge which once connected
the two parts of the city over the Tigris and the palace, are others.
The 15th- century Zeynel Bey Mausoleum nearby, is attractively
decorated with blue tiles.
Mardin lies on the southern slopes of a broad
highland that rises to an altitude of 3,450 ft (1,052 m) and overlooks
extensive limestone plateaus. The locality receives more rainfall than
the lower plains and has hot summers and cold winters. A ruined Roman
citadel, rebuilt in medieval times, crowns the summit of the highland
as evidence of Mardin's earlier existence as the Marida (Marde, Maride,
Merida) of antiquity. Marida was taken by the Seljuk Turks in the late
11th century and was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire by Sultan Selim
I in 1516. The Ulu Cami (Great Mosque), dating from the Seljuk period,
and the Sultan Isa Medresesi, a religious school built in the 14th century,
are still standing.
Mardin is an important regional trading center
on the east-west trade routes of southern Anatolia. It is connected by
a branch line with the Istanbul-Baghdad railway and is linked by roads
with Gaziantep (west), Aleppo (in Syria), Nusaybin (southeast), and Diyarbakir
Monastery of Deyrulzaferan
From a distance, the golden stone of
Mardin houses blend into the rock of the hills on which the city is built.
On closer inspection, the stone carving and decoration of the houses an
public buildings reveals the city as an architectural treasure-chest.
Among the jewels are the ancient citadel and several mosques, in particular,
Ulu Mosque. The 15th century Kasim Pasa Medrese is remarkable for its
fine stonework. At the lovely Isa Bey Medrese from the 14th century, you
can admire the magnificently carved portal and climb to its roof to enjoy
the fantastic view over the Mesopotamian Plain.
Only 7 kilometers east of Mardin is the
Syriac-Jacobite Monastery of Deyrulzaferan, which once was a thriving
religious community. Nearby at Kiziltepe, the 13th century Ulu Mosque,
one of the best examples of Artukid architecture, has superb mihrab reliefs
and a beautiful portal.
Midyat, famous for its silver objects known
as 'telkari', has many elegant, historic houses. Eighteen kilometers east
of town is the actively functioning Syriac-Jacobite monastery, Deyrelumur(San
Gabriel) which dates from the beginning of the fifth century.