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The old city of Mardin
The old city of Mardin
Mardin is located in Turkey
Location of Mardin within Turkey.
Coordinates: 37°19′0″N 40°44′16″E / 37.31667°N 40.73778°E / 37.31667; 40.73778Coordinates: 37°19′0″N 40°44′16″E / 37.31667°N 40.73778°E / 37.31667; 40.73778
Country Turkey
RegionSoutheastern Anatolia
 • Elected MayorAhmet Türk (deposed) (HDP)
 • Acting Mayor (Governor of Mardin Province)Mustafa Yaman
 • District969.06 km2 (374.16 sq mi)
1,083 m (3,553 ft)
 • Urban
 • District
 • District density140/km2 (370/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (TRT)
Postal code
47x xx
Area code(s)0482
Vehicle registration47

Mardin (Kurdish: Mêrdîn‎,[3] Arabic: ماردين‎, Syriac: ܡܪܕܝܢ‎, romanizedMerdīn[4][5]) is a city in southeastern Turkey. The capital of Mardin Province, it is known for the Artuqid architecture of its old city, and for its strategic location on a rocky hill near the Tigris River that rises steeply over the flat plains.[6] The old town of the city is under the protection of UNESCO, which forbids new constructions to preserve its façade.[7] Its population is split evenly between Arabs and Kurds.[8]


Close-up of the old town
Another detail of the old town

Antiquity and etymology[edit]

The city survived into the Assyrian Christian period as the name of Mt. Izala (Izla), on which in the early 4th century AD stood the monastery of Nisibis, housing seventy monks.[9] In the Roman period, the city itself was known as Marida (Merida),[10] from a Syriac/Assyrian Neo-Aramaic language name translating to "fortress".[11][12]

Between c.150 BC and 250 AD (apart from a brief Roman intervention when it became a part of Assyria (Roman province) it was part of the Neo-Assyrian kingdom of Osroene.[13]

Medieval history[edit]

Mardin, 1690

Byzantine Izala fell to the Seljuks in the 11th century. During the Artuqid period, many of Mardin's historic buildings were constructed, including several mosques, palaces, madrassas and khans. Mardin served as the capital of one of the two Artuqid branches during the 11th and 12th centuries. The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell to the Mongol invasion sometime between 1235 and 1243, but the Artuqids continued to govern as vassals of the Mongol Empire.[14]

During the medieval period, the town (which retained significant Assyrian and Armenian populations) became the centre for episcopal sees of Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Church of the East, Syriac Catholic, churches, as well as a stronghold of the Syriac Orthodox Church, whose patriarchal see was headquartered in the nearby Saffron Monastery from 1034 to 1924.[15] In 1451 the Kara Koyunlu besieged the castle of Mardin, damaging the city after their failed attempt to take the stronghold. About half a century later, in 1507, Ismail I of the Safavids succeeded to capture the city and the castle.[16]

Historical population
1970 33,740+38.4%
1990 53,005+57.1%
2000 65,072+22.8%
2012 86,948+33.6%
Lush plains south of Mardin
Filigree art in Mardin, known as Telkârî

Ottoman Empire[edit]

A few years later in 1515, the city yielded to the Ottomans, who were bitter rivals of the Safavid dynasty, though the castle still remained under the control of Ismail I. One year later, the Ottomans under the leadership of Selim I besieged the city anew and eventually annexed it in 1517.[16] During this time, Mardin was administered by a governor directly appointed under the Ottoman Sultan's authority.

The city experienced a relatively tranquil period under Ottoman rule, without any significant conflicts or plights. This period of peace was finally halted when the Ottoman Empire came into conflict with the Khedivate of Egypt. During this time the city came under the rule of insurgents associated with the Milli clan. In 1835, the Milli tribe was subdued by the military troops of the Wāli of Diyarbekir Eyalet, Reşid Mehmed Pasha.[17] Between 1847 and 1865 the city's population suffered from a notable cholera epidemic, with the exact number of fatalities not known.[16] During World War I Mardin was one of the sites affected by the Armenian genocide. On the eve of World War I, Mardin was home to over 12,000 Assyrians and over 7,500 Armenians.[18] During the armed conflicts and plights caused by the war, many were sent to the Ras al-'Ayn Camps, though some managed to escape to the Sinjar Mountain with help from local Chechens.[19] Kurds and Arabs of Mardin typically refer to these events as "fırman" (government order), while Syriacs call it "seyfo" (sword).[20] After the Armistice of Mudros Mardin was one of the Turkish cities that was not occupied by the troops of the Allied Powers.

Modern history[edit]

In 1923, with the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Mardin was made the administrative capital of a province named after it. Many Assyrian survivors of the violence, later on, left Mardin for nearby Qamishli in the 1940s after their conscription in the Turkish military became compulsory.[20] As the Turkish Government subdued the Sheikh Said Rebellion in 1925, the first and the fourteenth cavalry division were stationed in Mardin.[21]

Through a passed law in 2012 Mardin became a metropolitan municipality, which took office after the Turkish local elections in 2014.[22] The city has a significant Arab population.[23]

Ecclesiastical history[edit]

A bishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East was centered on the town when it was part of the Roman province of Assyria. It was a suffragan see of [Edessa], the provincial [metropolitan see].

It eventually became part of the Catholic Church in the late 17th century AD following a breakaway from the Assyrian Church, and is the (nominal) seat of three sees of the Catholic Church: the current Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mardin and two (now) titular sees under the ancient name of the town :[24] former Armenian Catholic Archeparchy of Mardin, now Titular see of Mardin only, and former Syriac Catholic Eparchy of Mardin and Amida, now titular see (initially as mere Eparchy).

Historical landmarks[edit]

Main post office building

Mardin has often been considered an open-air museum due to its historical architecture. Most buildings use the beige colored limestone rock which has been mined for centuries in quarries around the area.


The Great Mosque of Mardin
Zinciriye Medrese


In the 2014 local elections, Ahmet Türk of the Democratic Regions Party (DBP)[34] was elected mayor of Mardin. However, on 21 November 2016 he was detained on terror charges after being dismissed from his post by Turkish authorities. A trustee was appointed as mayor instead.[35] In the Municipal elections in March 2019 Türk was re-elected. But he was dismissed from his post in August 2019, accused of supporting terrorism.[36] Mustafa Yaman, the Governor of Mardin Province was appointed as acting mayor.[37]


Historically, Mardin produced sesame.[38]

Panorama of Mardin, with the Mesopotamian Plain opening to the right


Mardin has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa, Trewartha: Cs) with very hot, dry summers and chilly, wet, and occasionally snowy winters. Mardin is very sunny, with over 3000 hours of sun per year. While temperatures in summer can easily reach 40 °C (104 °F), because of its continental nature, wintry weather is still somewhat common between the months of December and March, and it usually snows for a week or two. The highest recorded temperature is 42.5 °C (108.5 °F).

Climate data for Mardin
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.5
Average low °C (°F) −0.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 99.8
Average rainy days 10.6 10.6 10.7 9.9 6.6 1.7 0.5 0.2 0.7 5.3 7.4 10.2 74.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 139.5 142.8 189.1 222 310 375 396.8 368.9 315 238.7 174 136.4 3,008.2
Source: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü[39]

Notable locals[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Mardin is twinned with:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  3. ^ Avcýkýran, Dr. Adem (ed.). "Kürtçe Anamnez, Anamneza bi Kurmancî" (PDF). Tirsik. p. 55. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  4. ^ Payne Smith, Robert (1879–1901). Thesaurus Syriacus (in Latin). Oxford: Clarendon Press. 2219.
  5. ^ "Mardin".
  6. ^ "Turkey Guide – Rough Guides travel information". Archived from the original on 2013-01-04.
  7. ^ A walk through Mardin, southeastern Turkey’s ancient town by Sarah Begum, Geographical, 25 February 2020
  8. ^ Gűc-Işik, Ayşe (April 6, 2013). "The intercultural engagement in Mardin: Religion, culture and identity". doi:10.4226/66/5A9752403BAA3 – via Semantic Scholar.
  9. ^ "Johann Elieser Theodor Wiltsch, trans. John Leitch, Handbook of the Geography and Statistics of the Church, Volume 1, Bosworth & Harrison, 1859, p. 232".
  10. ^ Fraternité Chrétienne Sarthe-Orient, "Marida (Mardin)" Archived 2014-01-25 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Lipiński, Edward (2000). The Aramaeans: their ancient history, culture, religion. Peeters Publishers. p. 146. ISBN 978-90-429-0859-8.
  12. ^ Smith, of R. Payne Smith. Ed. by J. Payne (1998). A compendious Syriac dictionary : founded upon the Thesaurus Syriacus (Repr. ed.). Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns. p. 299. ISBN 978-1-57506-032-3. Retrieved 8 March 2013. suggesting Mardin as a plural "fortresses".
  13. ^ Amir Harrak". Journal of Near Eastern Studies 51 (3): 209–214. 1992. doi:10.1086/373553. JSTOR 545546.
  14. ^ Ed. Morris Rossabi - China among equals: the Middle Kingdom and its neighbors, 10th-14th centuries, p. 244
  15. ^ Cinti Migliarini, Anita. "La chiesa siriaca di Antiochia". Chiesa siro-ortodossa di Antiochia (in Italian). Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  16. ^ a b c Mehmet Taştemir. "MARDİN" (in Turkish). İslam Ansiklopedisi [Islamic Encyclopedia]. p. 45. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  17. ^ Aydın, Suavi; Verheij, Jelle (2012). Jorngerden, Joost; Verheij, Jelle (eds.). Social Relations in Ottoman Diyarbekir, 1870-1915. Brill. p. 31. ISBN 9789004225183.
  18. ^ Kevorkian, Raymond (2011). The Armenian Genocide: a Complete History. London: Tauris. p. 371.
  19. ^ Kevorkian, Raymond (2011). The Armenian Genocide: a Complete History. London: Tauris. pp. 375–376.
  20. ^ a b Biner, Zerrin Özlem (Fall–Winter 2010). "Acts of Defacement, Memory of Loss: Ghostly Effects of the "Armenian Crisis" in Mardin, Southeastern Turkey". History and Memory.
  21. ^ Olson, Robert (1989). The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion, 1880–1925. University of Texas Press. pp. 102–104. ISBN 0292776195.
  22. ^ "Kanun No. 6360". Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  23. ^ Tocci, Nathalie (October 2001). "Our future southeastern Turkish frontiers". Centre for European Policy Studies.
  24. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 923
  25. ^ a b "Mardin - Duane Alexander Miller's Blog". Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Mardin Surp Kevork Kilisesi için Kitap Kermesi ve Söyleşi". Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  27. ^ Travel, Mardin. "Surp Kevork Church | Mardin Travel".
  28. ^ Philandre (6 October 2013). "Sunday Service, Syriac Orthodox Church of the Forty Martyrs, Mardin, Turkey". Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  29. ^ "St Hirmiz Chaldean Church in Mardin, Turkey". 2 June 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  30. ^ Simpson, Carrie (March 31, 2013). "Turkish Adventures: Easter in Mardin".
  31. ^ "Renovated Protestant church in Mardin to open soon". Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  32. ^ SOR (2000-04-19). "Dayro d-Mor Hananyo: Erstwhile seat of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch". Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  33. ^ "ARTS-CULTURE - Syriac monastery dated back to 4,000 years". 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  34. ^ "The final nail in the coffin of peace process in Turkey". Al-Monitor. 22 November 2016.
  35. ^ "Court arrests former Mardin mayor Ahmet Türk". Hurriyet Daily News. 24 November 2016.
  36. ^ "Three pro-Kurdish mayors replaced in southeastern Turkey". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  37. ^ "Trustee Appointed to Cizre Municipality in Şırnak". Bianet. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  38. ^ Prothero, W.G. (1920). Armenia and Kurdistan. London: H.M. Stationery Office. p. 62.
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2011-01-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  40. ^ Satter, Raphael (16 September 2009). "8'1" Turk takes title of world's tallest man". Retrieved 17 September 2009.
  41. ^ "Medmestno in mednarodno sodelovanje". Mestna občina Ljubljana (Ljubljana City) (in Slovenian). Archived from the original on 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-07-27.

Sources and external links[edit]

  • Ayliffe, Rosie, et al.. (2000) The Rough Guide to Turkey. London: Rough Guides.
  • Gaunt, David: Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia During World War I, Gorgias Press, Piscataway (NJ) 2006 I
  • Grigore, George (2007), L'arabe parlé à Mardin. Monographie d'un parler arabe périphérique. Bucharest: Editura Universitatii din Bucuresti, ISBN 978-973-737-249-9[1]
  • Jastrow, Otto (1969), Arabische Textproben aus Mardin und Asex, in "Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft" (ZDMG) 119 : 29–59.
  • Jastrow, Otto (1992), Lehrbuch der Turoyo-Sprache in "Semitica Viva – Series Didactica", Wiesbaden : Otto Harrassowitz.
  • Minorsky, V. (1991), Mārdīn, in "The Encyclopaedia of Islam". Leiden: E. J. Brill.
  • Niebuhr, Carsten (1778), Reisebeschreibung, Copenhagen, II:391-8
  • Shumaysani, Hasan (1987), Madinat Mardin min al-fath al-'arabi ila sanat 1515. Bayrūt: 'Ālam al-kutub.
  • Tavernier, Jean-Baptiste (1692), Les six voyages, I:187
  • Sasse, Hans-Jürgen (1971), Linguistische Analyse des Arabischen Dialekts der Mhallamīye in der Provinz Mardin (Südossttürkei), Berlin.
  • Socin, Albert (1904), Der Arabische Dialekt von Mōsul und Märdīn, Leipzig.
  • della Valle, Pietro (1843), Viaggi, Brighton, I: 515
  • Wittich, Michaela (2001), Der arabische Dialekt von Azex, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)