Southeast Turkey, just a stone’s throw away from the Syrian border, seems hardly the most attractive urban holiday destination. But Mardin is as safe as the rest of the country and you will be rewarded for its golden stone alleys, breathtaking scenery, rich multicultural heritage and outstanding wines.
The old city of Mardin is located on the hillside between the ancient castle and the Mesopotamian plain. It is stewed with the influence of Assyrian, Arab, Turkish and Kurdish culture, with unique architecture, food and handicrafts. Crafts show. At the end of the day, watching the sun fall from a bronze cup of Syrian wine or rich Murra coffee into the distant horizon, it is hard not to feel transported to another world.
In the past few years, the conflict on both sides of the border has dealt a blow to the tourism industry in Mardin, but visits today are as safe and easy as ever-the only difference is that you might feel like you own the whole place. Now may be the right time to visit.
If you don’t have religious monuments, the old town itself is full of them. Visit the Grand Mosque with its magnificent and exquisite minarets; the exquisite carvings of the Ratfiya Mosque; and the Kirklar Church, if you are lucky, a friendly priest will allow you to quickly visit. Another beautiful sandstone building is the City Museum, a museum worth visiting dating back thousands of years. Half of the joy of finding these attractions is exploring narrow streets, getting lost in old houses and seeing local life.