History of Mardin, fortress of serenity

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Mardin is one of the most fascinating and peaceful places in Kurdistan, thanks to a history made mostly of beauty and tolerance

The words of Ibn Battuta

“Once we got back on our way, we then reached an important city among the most beautiful, magnificent and perfect in Dar al Islam, Mardin, the production center of a well-known mar’izz [goat hair] [pelo di capra] wool fabric and home to splendid markets, which rises at the foot of a mountain where there is a superb and famous citadel. “


Mardin’s name comes from an Aramaic word which means “fortress”, however on its origins there are no certain sources, but it was certainly already active in 150 BC. approximately, the period in which it made its appearance within the Reign of Oroene, becoming part, from 244, of the Roman Empire; with the arrival of the new rulers, the city and its surroundings soon became Christians, choosing these lands as the perfect place for the construction of monasteries and sanctuaries. The role of Rome will then be taken by the Arabs, who will bring Islam here for the first time, then come on Marwanids, first great lineage Kurdish, and finally by the Artuqids, who will dominate this city until 1409; it is to them that much of the amazing architecture that makes Mardin a unique jewel is attributable. In fact, during their regency madrasas, mosques, palaces and caravanserais were built, moreover it was confirmed as one of the houses of Eastern Christianity, leading to the birth of many new places of worship and religious communities. The political ability of this family allowed her not to have particular problems with the Mongols, managing, on the contrary, to even become their vassals; in 1454 their place will be taken by the Kara Koyunlu then by the Safavids in 1507 and finally by the Ottomans starting from 1517.


Under the Sublime Porte, Mardin experienced a long period of tranquility and peace, troubled only by some revolts of 1835 and, in a much more serious and heavy way, by the First World War. Like other cities of Upper Mesopotamia, in fact, it was a witness and protagonist of the genocide of the Armenians and the Assyrians, which will leave an indelible mark on the city, historically among the most welcoming in the Middle East until then. With the birth of modern Turkey, tensions also began with the Kurds, who here gave rise to the revolt of Sheikh Said, quickly suppressed.

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