Mardin is located at the edge of Mesopotamia, an ancient river system considered by many to be the cradle of civilisation. The legends of Noahs Ark and Gilgamesh are attributed to this land and the borders of Syria and Iraq are visible in the distance across the plains.
For the first time on our trip, we’re really close to Syria. We’re not in any danger in Turkey, but it’s a strange and sad feeling knowing that such chaos is happening just 15kms across the plains.
In Mardin’s old town, it feels like time stopped 100 years ago. Take any small alleyway off the main street and you’ll find yourself in a beautiful labyrinth, where transport is by foot, donkey or horse only, and there is always stunning views back across the plains.
This pale blue is the most popular colour for doorways – Kristen must have known.
We wandered around the market area and made friends with some lovely shop owners after we bought soaps and nuts. The nuts are all local and taste delicious.
And we bought our first souvenirs. How could we resist in a shop this beautiful! There were treasures to be found.
The population here is a mix of Kurds, Arabs, Turks and Syrian Orthodox Christians and this is reflected in the towns history and architecture. We came across both mosques and churches when wandering the streets.
Just outside of town, we also visited the Deyrulzafaran monastery, built in 495. The monastery was once the seat of the Syrian Orthodox patriarchate but this is now located in Damascus.
It was when the sun started to go down that Mardin’s magic really won us over. Kites were flown high in the sky, lights twinkled across town and the call to prayer echoed across the plains.
Each night we would sit on the rooftop balcony of our hotel, sipping our much loved çay (tea) and enjoying the view. Mardin was a special place to visit.