Mardin is perched at the edge of a plateau in southeastern Turkey overlooking the sweltering Mesopotamian plain south of Diyarbakir.
Mardin is a provincial capital and an ancient town built of sandstone with some interesting old buildings, including the medieval Sultan Isa Medresesi (1385), Kasim Pasha Medresesi (1400s), the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque, 1000s), and a rambling bazaar.
But most people come to visit the Saffron Monastery (Deyrul Zafaran), 6 km (4 miles) to the east. This was a holy place even in pre-Christian times. The monastery has been here since 495 AD. Some of its existing floor mosaics are 1500 years old.
Once the seat of the Assyrian patriarch (who now resides in Damascus), Deyrul Zafaran is now mostly an orphanage run by a few monks.
Church services are still chanted in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.
Other Assyrian monasteries are scattered throughout the Tur Abdin ( the region to the east), particularly at Midyat and Mor Gabriel.
Mardin is a city that combines its rich, mystical and historical heritage with modernity. The city, situated in the south-east of Turkey has bazaars, historic inns, museums, stone houses, silver jewellery and artefacts. As one of the most distinctive cities in Turkey, Mardin has preserved well the cultural influences of various dynasties throughout the history of the country. The city’s historical buildings such as mosques, shrines, churches, monasteries and travellers’ inns reflect different religious beliefs and have high artistic value. The city hosts buildings which have been listed as world heritage sites. During your stay, remember to taste the delicious local cuisine and to buy some of the beautiful jewellery in the bazaars. Also during your trip, you can listen to some of the traditional songs about Mardin to enrich your experience. Mardin is on the Syrian borders and is situated in the southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey. It is one of the country’s most populated cities. Apart from a few districts, in general, this province experiences a continental climate, with freezing winters and blazing summers. The city’s revenue relies on agriculture, farming, livestock and commerce. Every year thousands of domestic and overseas tourists flock to this historical to town and as a result, the city’s cultural tourism is also thriving. Your tour of Mardin can begin with a visit to the city centre; you can visit the Kasımiye Medrese, the Mor Behnam (Kırklar) Church, Great Mosque, Mardin Museum, the old bazaar, the Susur Inn, the Deyrulzafaran Monastery and the ancient city of Dara. Then head in the direction of the Midyat, Savur and Nusaybin districts where you can visit many heritage buildings. In a town like Mardin, it is worth paying visits to its museums. The first museum that you should go is the Mardin Museum which is one of the best museums in Turkey. This three-storey building in an intense yellow colour, with beautifully carved stone arches and pillars, showcases exhibits about local costumes, silver and copperware, military objects and Turkish Bath accoutrements. If you come at the right time, you may join one of Mardin’s important cultural or artistic festivals. They include “Tourism Festival”, the “Mardin Opera and Ballet Days”, “Green Culture Tourism and Cherry Festival” in June, “The IM International Social Circus Festival” for children from different countries, “SineMardin International Mardin Film Festival” and the “International Mardin Children and Youth Theatre Festival”. Mardin is known as a unique destination internationally. Don’t forget to try the local Mardin cuisine and to observe Mardin’s beautiful local houses. This city’s cuisine is influenced by the different cultures throughout Turkey’s history, but the most impressive aspect of Mardin’s cuisine is its local spices. Be sure to taste the stuffed ribs and the local speciality, sembusak, and after your meal, sip a Mırra coffee. Mardin’s stone houses resemble those in the Northern Syria, and, the way the rooms were laid out, provides a view of an inner courtyard. In Mardin, you can also find half open spaces such as porticoes and “iwans”, built to provide shade. Your visit to Mardin will be undoubtedly surprising and fascinating, so take as many photographs as you can. Before leaving for Mardin, please check with your embassy or the consulate general whether there is any travel warning issued to avoid any undesirable situations which may arise from time to time in the city so that you may enjoy your stay at Mardin.