I initially planned of starting my Southeastern Anatolia travel in Mardin, flying from Istanbul to here but the airfare was expensive so I ended up flying to and starting in Gaziantep which was a better plan in the end because I was able to hit both places. So I landed at Gaziantep, took the bus to Midyat, stayed there and had a side trip to Mardin.
I took the one-hour dolmush (shared van) ride from Midyat to the new part of Mardin and hopped on the city bus in front of Bilem Hotel along the main highway to the hill where the old city is located. It’s merely a 15-minute minute ride and stops exactly in front of the Mardin Museum where I started.
Mardin is a beautiful ancient city with all of its old houses and historical buildings perched in layers on the slope of a hill overlooking down the Mesopotamian plains. It is one of those classical city that dates back to 4,000BC.
The old city is considered as an open-air museum with its numerous historical landmarks.
It is famous for its unique architecture of the old town perched on top of the rocky hill. Located along the road to Syria and Iraq, the arab influence is very evident at both the house designs and the language of most inhabitants.
It was handed from one muslim dynasty to another – from the Umayyads who introduced Islam, to the Abbasids, the Seljuks, and the Artukids who were responsible for the construction of most of Mardin’s historical buildings like mosques, medresses, palaces, hans and mansions.
Mardin is similar to Midyat both having the same golden-honey-colored houses and buildings except that the former has a dramatic setting on top of the hill. All the points of interest in the old city can be explored on foot set around the hill below the castle.
Noteworthy of visit is the museum which almost resemble the Konuk Evi of Midyat, the Zinciriye Medrese complex, the Great Mosque, Meryem Ana Kilisesi, among others.
I enjoyed my day trip to Mardin very much except for the incident where I panicked when I found out that there are no more buses that goes back to Midyat where my hotel is.
I thought I was going to get stuck and spend a night in Mardin.