Our country hosts different cultures due to the geography it is located in. Every corner of it, east or west, south or north, offers unique experiences with natural beauties, historical artifacts, and culinary culture. One such experience for me was to see, taste, and feel the humble city of Mardin, which overlooks Mesopotamia from above. Mysterious, impressive, and hospitable, Mardin is one of the most important cultural stops of Southeastern Anatolia…
Mardin’s most significant characteristic is that it is one of the rare cities where different cultures, languages, ethnic backgrounds are blended and still led their existence in this harmony with all their beauties. I stayed in one of Mardin’s stone houses. There is only one street in Ancient Mardin, which is one way. It has one way but no return lane. All the other streets are only spared to donkeys. They come from the hotel and pick us up in the street. We pass through abbara passages, narrow streets, dirty, rundown avenues to the hotel’s back door. I’m afraid for a moment about what I will encounter. I come across a magnificent Mesopotamia view in the courtyard of a 1000-year-old Mardin house as go in through that tiny door. You would suppose sea lies across before at night. Like seeing the lights of large and small ships or boats… However, this is Mesopotamia… In the morning, I will understand the plains that stretch as far as the I can see turn into a sea at nights.
I arrived at Mardin on a Saturday evening. Every place was closed, the tourism season was already over. Ancient Mardin has those calm days. There are only a few foreign tourists on the streets other than us. For dinner, we enter a very shabby kebab restaurant that is about to close. Mardin is throwing a kebab right at the beginning of the day. It is so delicious that… So is the conversation… Mardin’s people are sociable, hospitable.
Of course, there are a lot of places to see in Mardin, the intersection of civilizations. In order, must-see places include Ulu Mosque, Mardin Museum, Mor Behnam Church (Kırklar Church), Sakıp Sabancı City Museum, Governor’s Building, Girls High School, Zinciriye Madrasa, Deyrulzaferan Monastery, Kasimiye Madrasa, and Dara Village, which is 30 km from the center of Mardin… The list can get even longer. If you have time, Midyat is also worth seeing.
The fact that especially every mid-aged and older individual salutes each other when in Mardin streets. I hope this tradition will be passed on to younger generations. I thank Mardin’s people once again because they made us feel like guests rather than tourists.
Now comes the time to leave… I have Mardin’s beautiful people, delicious food, and distinct architecture in my mind… We must see and recognize cultures in our country before going to the other side of the world to learn about different cultures. Every corner of our country reveals a different culture and a different world.