Still in Mesopotamia, Mardin is amazing. Its original habitation apparently dates back to 4000 BC and, like Harran, it is considered one of the longest continuously inhabited places on earth.
Mardin began its current life as a fortified hilltop castle (built around 330 BC) which then grew and expanded down the hill in breathtakingly gorgeous honey-colored layers. The town was positioned in such an important location on the Silk Road that it often gained protection and benefits from the different rulers that regularly rampaged and reigned across the lands.
We loved wandering the alleyways and arches, getting lost and found, and joking with the local kids.
We also walked to, and hitched back from, a nearby monastery, Deyrul Zafaran, once the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate (now in Damascus), and taxi’d out to Dara, the ruins of an old Persian or Roman city (depending on whom you consult!) where amazing dams and irrigation canals were built but most impressively cathedral like underground aqueducts and water cisterns!
Mardin is also special for the way Muslims, Christians, Turks, Kurds, Syrians, Iraqis and others have lived together for centuries, and continue to live together, (mostly) in cooperation and peace.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
For more photos, click here.