The excavations demonstrate that there has been settlement in the area since 4500 BC. Mardin has been under the sovereignty of Sybarites, Hurries, Sumerians, Akats, Mitanis, Hittites, Assyrians, Iskits, Babylon, Persians, Macedonians, Abgars, Roman, Byzantines, Arabians, Seljuk, Artuks and Ottomans.
Mardin and its surrounding is a famous city with its ruin places, castles, mosques, madrasas, tombs, monastery buildings, churches, fountains, public houses, Turkish baths, thermal waters, traditional houses, caves and museum.
Among ruin places, Dara Ruins, which is on the southeast of Mardin and 30 km from Oghuz Village, attracts attention with its remnants of an antique city. This antique city, which was founded by Persian Emperor Darayuvasi, has been an area of struggle for Persians and Romans. Towards the end of VII century the city was ruled by Emevis, then Abbasis. In XV century the city was under the dominance of Turks. Dara Antique City was surrounded by ramparts. Castle, church, palace, bazaar and stores, dungeon, arsenal, and water dams are among the constructions within the ramparts. Moreover, in the neighborhood of Oghuz Village there are cave houses, which were carved into rocks and belong to Late Roman Period.
Girvanaz Antique City is situated in Caglar Village, which is located 4 km south to Nusaybin city of Mardin. This antique city attracts attention due to its tumulus-like settlement nature with a diameter of 300 m and a height of 24 meters and remnants. Archeological workings showed that Girvanaz has been a settlement area since the end of 4000 BC. As a result of excavations some graves were found and in them some invaluable materials such as metal guns, metal baubles, vases, kerosene lamps, stamp seals and tabloids were found. Moreover, Girvanaz is believed to be a place where evil spirits live, so lunatic patients are brought here for treatment.
The important castles in Mardin are as follows: Mardin, Erdemest and Arur castles in the city centre, Kiz (Girl) in Eskikale Village, Rabat in Hisaralti Village of Derik district, Dermetinan in Gumusova Village of Mazidagi district, Savur in the center of Savur district, Aznavur, Rahabdium, Merdis and Haytam in the center of Nusaybin district, El Nihman in Bulbul Village of Yesillli district and Zarzavan castles on Mardin-Diyarbakir road. They all are among the important stops to see.
Mardin is abundant for its religious constructions. Mardin Meliksah Ulu Mosque (City centre), Zeynel Abidin Mosque (Centre of Nusaybin), Kochisar Mosque (Centre of Dunaysir-Kiziltepe ), Melik Mahmut Mosque (City centre) ve Latifiye Mosque (City centre), which date back to 11 century, are mosque architecture examples of Artuk period. Among tombs Sultan Musa, Sheik Lile, Sheik Salih, Sheik Hamit and Musaip Tombs are in the foreground.
Kasimiye, which is located in the city centre and famous for its stonework, Zinciriye (Sultan Jesus) with its wonderfully carved gate, Marufiye, Sehidiye and Hatuniye Madrasas are very famous constructions which contribute to the historical wealth of the city.
In Mardin and its surrounding areas some instances of churches and monasteries are also encountered. The Virgin Mary Church and Patriarchate, Mar Yusuf Church, Mor (Purple) Behnam (Kirklar Metropilitik) Church and Deyr-ul Zafaran Monastery in the city centre; The Virgin Mary Church and Mor (Puple) Gabriel And Deyr-ul Umur Monasteries in Midyat, Mor yakup Monastery in Nusaybin; Mor Dimet Monastery in Dereici Village in Savur district are prominent buildings. Among them, Deyr-ul Zafaran Monastery was founded on Sin Temple and it is one of the religious centers of Syrian Orthodox Kadim Religious Community. In the complex of Monastery there are graves belonging to 52 Syrian Orthodox Patriarchs. Near around the Monastery, three-sectioned Kalitmara Castle is situated to protect the monastery. Located 18 km east to Midyat, Deyr-ul Umur Monastery shelters The Virgin Mary, Resuller, Kirk Sehir Churches and Mor Samuel and Mor Semun Enshrines.
In Mardin Archeological Museum has a rich collection of works belonging to the period between 4000 BC and 7th century BC. In the archeological halls there are slabs, stamp seals, cult pots, figurines, metal awls, jewelry, ceramics belonging to the Bronze, Assyrian, Urartu, Greek, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Grand Seljuk, Artuk and Ottoman periods are exhibited.
Mardin houses built from limestone, historical large and imposing houses in Midyat, Bazaars of Sipahiler, Un(Flour), Ayakkabicilar(shoemakers), Hasan Ayyar, Meskin, Nalburiyeciler(owners of hardware store), Marangozlar (carpenters), Kasaplar (butchers) and Public Houses (Han) of Surur, Kayseriye, Ceco, Republic (Cumhuriyet); Emir, Savurkapi, Yildiz, Ulu Mosque, Meristen and Sitrazaviye Turkish Baths; Germ-ul Ab thermal waters and fountains in Dargecit district are among the sights to see.
Pottery making, Ironworking, Copperworking, Work of a thinner, work of a jeweler, Silversmith art (Telkari), Needle work embroidery, Midyat Embroidering, Seed Needle, Quilt making, Dyeing (Sibbeg), Leather trade (Dabbag), Soap manufacturing, Textile industry, Sal u Sapik, which is a special textile, Rug trade, silk and wool carpet trade, packsaddle trade, Felt making, wood carving (ornamental inlaying), pearl work, plane work done with hornbeam tree stonework are among the most popular handicrafts.
Kibbe, faggot with walnut, different types of halvah, desserts with walnut have specialty among other local foods.
In Mardin, Revival of spring, Hassit, Merene and Hidir Ellez; Girvanaz in Nusaybin are among the fests which are celebrated enthusiastically during the first week of May. Moreover, arrival of Ataturk to Mardin and the independence of Mardin are celebrated with ceremonies in 13 March and 21 November, respectively. Kabala Culture and Cherry Fest and Yesilli Culture and Cherry Fest are also organized during the second week of June. www.mardinbelediyesi.com www.mardin.gov.tr