• Keywords: Turkey, Cultural Landscape, Mardin, Syriac, Upper Mesopotamia, Great Mosque, Melik Mahmut Mosque, Abdüllatif Mosque, Şehidiye Medresse and Mosque, Reyhaniye Mosque, Zinciriye Medrese, Sitti Radviyye Medrese, Kasımiye Medrese, Monastery of Deyrul Zafran, Meryemana Church, Mor Yusuf Church, Mor Behnam Church.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

Mardin Cultural Landscape is in the Tentative List of UNESCO, date of submission: 25/02/2000, criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv), category: cultural, themes: cultural landscapes, and ref.: 1406.

  • Tentative List of UNESCO

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

Mardin is a city in a rocky region in southeastern Anatolia. The city is mainly medieval in origin and is situated on the slopes of a rocky hill, crowned by o fortress built on its citadel. This barren stoney region around Diyarbaklr and Mardin stretches as for as Sanliurfa and Gaziantep. The city as a whole with its traditional stone, religious and vernacular architecture and its terraced urban pattern is the best preserved example of Anatolian soil. It is considered as an example of human being interaction on a rocky environment. There are other values in this site. For example, Deyrulzafaran Monastery is one of the living religious center of Syriandacobites in Mardin, an impressive architectural complex in the Mesopotamian plain. It is proposed as a Cultural site in the Tentative List of UNESCO, and, at the same time, in its UNESCO’s file it is described as a Cultural Landscape. Taking all of that in consideration, and the antural a Architectural styles are based on the local stone and the valley has changed little over the centuries. The value of the site is recognized in the World Heritge List of UNESCO (1985). Taking into account all the reasons given above and the UNECO criteria for Cultural Landscape (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972) Med-O-Med has decided to give one more step proposing the site as a Cultural Landscape in the category: Organically evolved Landscape.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination Mardin.
  • Current denomination Mardin.
  • Original denomination Mardin.
  • Popular denomination Mardin.
  • Address: Country: Turkey Region: Southeastern Anatolia Province: Mardin
  • Geographical coordinates: Coordinates: 37°19' N - 40°44' E
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: Mardin is located on the south east of Turkey where Deyrulzafaran is 7 km from Mardin.
  • Access and transport facilities: Although there are roads leading to city from roughly all cardinal directions, your most likely point of entry to city will be Urfa. Upon getting close to Mardin, the hilltop old city will greet you from a distance, and as you get closer, the road will swing north, and will eventually lead to the modern suburb of Yenişehir, at the other side of the hill of old city. There are minibuses (dolmuş) from Urfa, about two and a half to three hours away. Dolmuş from Diyarbakir costs 9 TL and takes 2 hrs. Although there is a small train station just south of the city, it's currently not used and the nearest cities with a regular train connection—as far as passenger trains are concerned at least—to the rest of the country is Gaziantep to west and Batman to north. The city is connected to the surrounding region with well-paved highways, except for a 100-km section east of Urfa which is full of potholes. Hitchhiking from Urfa is very easy, thanks to the hospitality of the local people. Blue minibuses (dolmuş) connect the Yenişehir suburb (lit. "New City", newer and lower suburb at the entrance of the city) with the old city (Eski Mardin). They cost 0.90 TL/person. The steep road between new and old cities might be taken in 30-40 minutes on foot, however it will be a very demanding walk for sure, especially during the peak of summer heat. Old city is small enough to be negotiated on foot, with the distance between one end to another not exceeding half an hour on the main street. And you will certainly not find any vehicle of any kind on twisty and staired narrow alleys.
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Mardin Cultural Landscape (TURKEY)

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Mardin Cultural Landscape (TURKEY) 37.316667, 41.000000 Mardin Cultural Landscape (TURKEY) (Directions)

3. LEGAL ISSUES

Property regime
  • Public
  • Owner: Turkish Government.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Turkish Government.

4. HISTORY

Mardin is one of the oldest settled areas in upper Mesopotamia. Excavations done in the 1920s discovered remains in the area that dated to 4000 BCE. The first known civilization were the Subarians who were then succeeded in 3000BCE by the Hurrians. The Elamites gained control around 2230 BCE. and were followed by the Babylonians, Hittites, Assyrians, Romans and Byzantines. In 692, the Muslim Ummayads arrived and introduced Islam. The Abbasid Caliphate based in Baghdad replaced them in 824. Factions of the Seljuk Turks fought each other over Mardin as it changed hands many times before it was finally taken by Nahm ad-din Ilghazi, the bey of the Artukids, a Turkish dynasty founded by the Seljuk Emir Artuk. During the Artukid period, many of Mardin’s historic buildings were constructed, including several Mosques, Palaces, Madrassas and Hans. The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell to the Mongols sometime between 1235 and 1243, but the Mongols never directly governed the area. The Artukid family ruling Mardin became vassal state of the Mongol Empire.[4] During the battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, the Artuqid (Artık) ruler revolted against the Mongol rule. Hulegu’s general and Chupan’s ancestor, Koke-Ilge of the Jalayir, stormed the city and Hulegu appointed the rebel’s son, al-Nasir, governor of Mardin. Although, Hulegu suspected the latter’s loyalty for a while, thereafter the Artukids remained loyal unlike nomadic Bedoun and Kurd tribes in the south western frontier. The Mongol Ilkhanids considered them important allies. For this loyalty they shown, Artukids were given more lands in 1298 and 1304. Mardin later passed to the Akkoyunlu, a federation of Turkic tribes that controlled territory all the way to the Caspian Sea. In 1517, Mardin was annexed by the Ottomans under Selim the Grim. During this time, Mardin was administered by a governor directly appointed under the Ottoman Sultan’s authority. In 1923, with the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Mardin was made the administrative capital of a province named after it.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Urban
  • Geography: Arid Mountain
  • Site topography: Natural
  • Climate and environmental conditions: Mardin has a semi-arid climate with very hot and dry summers and cold, wet, and occasionally snowy winters. Temperatures in summer usually increase to 40°C - 50°C (104°F - 122°F) due to Mardin being situated right next to the border of Syria. Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two. Mardin has over 3000 hours of sun per year. The highest recorded temperature is +48.8°C.
Land uses and economical activities:
Mardin's economy is based on agriculture and mining with most of the industry based on the manufacture of building materials. Tourism has increased rapidly in recent years. Traditional handicrafts produced in Mardin are Saddles, Carpets, Pottry, Leatherware and Silverware.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

Mardin is a city in a rocky region in southeastern Anatolia. The city is mainly medieval in origin and is situated on the slopes of a rocky hill, crowned by o fortress built on its citadel. This barren stoney region around Diyarbaklr and Mardin stretches as for as Sanliurfa and Gaziantep. The city as a whole with its traditional stone, religious and vernacular architecture and its terraced urban pattern is the best preserved example of Anatolian soil. It is considered as an example of human being interaction on a rocky environment. There are other values in this site. For example, Deyrulzafaran Monastery is one of the living religious center of Syriandacobites in Mardin, an impressive architectural complex in the Mesopotamian plain.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Architectonical elements /Sculptures:

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. -Mosques: Great Mosque (Ulu Camii) – Constructed in the 12th century by the ruler of the Artukid Turks, Qutb ad-din Ilghazi. It has a ribbed dome and a minaret that soars above the city. There were originally two minarets, but one collapsed many centuries ago. Melik Mahmut Mosque – built in the 14th century and contains the tomb of its patron Melik Mahmut. It is known for its large gate which features elaborate stonework. Abdüllatif Mosque (Latfiye Mosque) – built in 1371 by the Artukid ruler Abdüllatif. Its minaret was destroyed by Tamerlane’s army and rebuilt many centuries later in 1845 by the Ottoman Governor Gürcü Mehmet Pasha. Şehidiye Medresse and Mosque – built in the 1214 by Artuk Aslan. It has an elborate ribbed minaret and an adjoining Madrassa. Reyhaniye Mosque – The second largest mosque in Mardin after Ulu Camii. Built in the 15th century, it has a large courtyard and open hallway featuring a fountain. Hamidiye Mosque (Zebuni Mosque) – built before the 15th century, it is named after its patron Şeyh Hamit Effendi. Other mosques: Selsel Mosque, Necmettin Gazi Mosque, Kasım Tuğmaner Mosque, Şehidiyye Mosque, Süleymanpaşa Mosque, Secaattin and Mehmet Mosque, Hamza-i Kebir Mosque, Şeyh Abdülaziz Mosque, etc. el-Emin Mosque -Madrassas: Zinciriye Medrese (Sultan Isa Medrese) – Constructed in 1385 by Najm ad-din Isa. The madrasa is part of a complez that includes a Mosque and the tomb of Najm ad-din Isa. Sitti Radviyye Medrese (Hatuniye Medrese) – built in the 12th century in the honor of Sitti Radviyye, the wife of Najm ad-din Alpi. There is a footprint that is claimed to be that to be that of the Prophet Muhammad. Kasımiye Medrese – construction started by the Artukids and completed by the Akkoyunlu under Sultan Kasım. It has an adjoining Mosque and a Dervish lodge. -Churches: Monastery of Deyrul Zafran. Meryemana (Virgin Mary) Church. Mor Yusuf (Surp Hovsep) Church. Mor Behnam (Kırk Şehitler) Church – built in the name of Behnam and Saro, the two sons of an Aramean (Syriac) rule, dates from 569 AD. Deyrü’z-Zafaran Monastery – The Syriac Orthodox Saffron Monastery was founded in 439 AD and is one of the oldest monasteries in the world and the only one that is still functioning in southern Turkey. From 1160 until 1932, it was the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, until the Patriarchate relocated to the Syrian capital Damascus. The site of the monastery itself is said to have been used as a temple by sun worshipers as long ago as 2000 BC. Others: Mor Mihail Church, Mor Semune Church, Mor Petrus and Pavlus Church, Red (Surp Kevork) Church, Mor Cercis Church, Mor Efraim Monastery.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
B) Related to ancient remains

C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

  • Population, ethnic groups: Mardin lies at the heart of homeland of Syriacs (Süryaniler), an ancient people who trace their origin to Akkadian Empire, established in Mesopotamia around 2200 BC.
  • Languages and dialects: Syriac is a Semitic language directly related to the native tongue of Jesus Christ, Aramaic.

5.3. Quality

Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

All the architectonical elements already mentioned in this file.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
  • Geological/Geographical
The main tangible values of "Mardin Cultural Landscape" are: -Aesthetic/ Geological: Mardin is a city in a rocky region in southeastern Anatolia. The city is mainly medieval in origin and is situated on the slopes of a rocky hill, crowned by o fortress built on its citadel. The city as a whole with its traditional stone and composes a beatiful landscape. -Architectonical: 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. There are a lot of mosques, churches, madrassas and other sanctuaries in the city.

Intangible

  • Historical
  • Religious
The main intangible values of "Mardin Cultural Landscape" are: -Historical/ Social significance: Mardin lies at the heart of homeland of Syriacs (Süryaniler), an ancient people who trace their origin to Akkadian Empire, established in Mesopotamia around 2200 BC. Syriac is a Semitic language directly related to the native tongue of Jesus Christ, Aramaic. Syriac Orthodoxy was established after the first division in Christianity in 431, much earlier than the Great Schism of 11th century between the churches of Rome and Constantinople. While the Syriac population in Mardin dwindled due to emigration (nowadays Assyrians are more numerous in Sweden than in all of Turkey), they are still very much present in the city, along with more or less all other regional cultures, including Turks, Kurds, and Arabs. -Religious: There are other values in this site. For example, Deyrulzafaran Monastery is one of the living religious center of Syriandacobites in Mardin, an impressive architectural complex in the Mesopotamian plain.
Authenticity:
Mardin is one of the oldest settled areas in upper Mesopotamia. Excavations done in the 1920s discovered remains in the area that dated to 4000 BCE.
Universality:
Med-O-Med subscribes the UNESCO criteria proposed in the Tentative List (ii, iii, iv): ii) Merdin exhibits an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning and landscape design. The city as a whole with its traditional stone and composes a beatiful landscape. iii) The city bears an exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared, as the Syriacs. iv) The architecture of Mardin is an outstanding example of a type of 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.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
Mardin served as the capital of Turkic Artuqid dynasty between 12th and 15th centuries, which resulted in much of the Islamic heritage (madrasahs and mosques) visible in the city today. In 692, the Muslim Ummayads arrived and introduced Islam.

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

Mardin Cultural Landscape is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Turkey which are included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1406/ http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://www.mardintravel.com/ http://www.lonelyplanet.com/turkey/the-black-sea-and-northeastern-anatolia/mardin -Ayliffe, R. et al. (2000).The Rough Guide to Turkey. London: Rough Guides. -Shumaysani, H. (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, H.J. (1971), Linguistische Analyse des Arabischen Dialekts der Mhallamīye in der Provinz Mardin (Südossttürkei), Berlin. -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara , Italy.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.