Mardin is the capital city of the Mardin Province in Turkey. Although it is one of the oldest known settlements in Mesopotamia, it remains a somewhat small city of only 87,000 in population.[i]
[i] City Population - Mardin. City Population. Retrieved on 2014-04-01.
Tourists are often attracted to the quaint open-air tea gardens and cafes of Mardin, offering an assortment of local favorites including lentil soup and dessert couscous.
Deyrulzafaran Monastery - The Deyrulzafaran Monastery is very well maintained, offering guided tours with many photo opps of the beautiful building and grounds. Tickets must be purchased for entrance and you will need to drive to this location just outside the town of Mardin.
Zinciriye Medresesi - Follow the signs in the old city to see this Islamic school with lovely decorative details.
Mor Yakup Monastery - Not far from Mardin in the nearby town of Nusaybin, there is a beautiful and ancient monastery featuring a basilica design built in 328 AD. Inside there is also a mausoleum for Mor Yakup. Previous to existence of the monastery, the site was home to a Mecusi temple.
There are quite a few options for hotel lodgings in Mardin, with a range of prices and amenities to suit nearly any traveler. An especially interesting boutique accommodation is the Erdoba Evleri Konaks -- a gorgeous set of private traditional stone homes turned into luxury guestrooms with beautiful furnishings, conferences and meeting spaces, stunning views, and a restaurant on-site. Mardin also has several smaller bed and breakfast style guesthouses. Alternatively, some people choose to stay in nearby Midyat and just take a 1 hour drive to visit Mardin for the day.
The town of Mardin is located on a steep rocky slope alongside the Tigris River overlooking plains land. The city has a Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers and cold wintry winters. The average summer high is 95°F, and the winter low is 33°F.[i]
Mardin is a very fossil rich environment, with experts saying that over 50 million years ago the area was actually covered by a great sea.[ii]
[i] Mardin Historical Data. Turkish State Meteorological Service. Retrieved on 2014-04-01.
[ii] Mardin's Soil Unveils Rich Fossils During Excavation. Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved on 2014-04-02.
Rental cars for personal use or taxis for hire are an easy way to get around in Mardin, but walking is also a popular choice if you don't mind the hilly terrain. Transfer flights from Istanbul and Ankara are offered a few times per week, but many tourists choose to fly into Diyarbakir then take ground transportation to Mardin.