The cultural heritage, left by people of different culture and religion who still live in harmony today, is revealed through the stone carving and decoration of its elegant houses, public buildings, churches and mosques that make the old town of Midyat a small treasure of architecture. The town is also reputed for the making of filigree silver jewelry called “telkari”. Midyat is only located a few kilometers/ miles away from the beautiful Monastries and Churches of Turabdin.



Turabdin is a plateau located in the east of Mardin. From the end of the 4th century onward, it was a Syriac Jacobite (also known as Syriac Orthodox) religious center, which is still active today, where many monasteries were opened. The most renowned monastery is Mar Gabriel, also know as Deyr Ul Umur, founded in 397 by Mar Samuel and Mar Shemun. It was only in the 7th century that the monastery began to be called the "Monastery of Mar Gabriel" after its bishop Mar Gabriel (+668). The monastery was and still is the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of the Turabdin. The Monastery of Mar Gabriel is located 18 km/ 11 miles to the east of Mydiat along the Midyat-Idil road.
Another significant monastery is Mar Yakup (Nusaybin). The monastery was built in 328 after the death of Mar Yakup and was dedicated to him. It is an important historical and architectural property in Nusaybin.
The Turabdin Plateau with its monasteries was the center of a flourishing community that spoke Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.
Among the numerous churches of Turabdin, one of the most beautiful and most interesting is the Church of the Virgin Mary in Anitli, 40 km/ 25 miles to the east of Midyat on Dargeçit road.

Mar Gabriel

Mar Gabriel



Syriac-Jacobite priests today and in the past


The origins of Sanliurfa are very old considering that the place is known as the “City of the Prophetes” because it would have welcome Abraham, Job, Jethro and St George. Its location in Upper Mesopotamia, at the point of confluence between different civilizations, explains a rich and eventful past. The city, named “Hurri” (which means caves) by the Babylonians, maintained good relationships with the Mitanians, the Hittites and the Egyptians. Named “Osrhoe” by the Greeks and “Orhai” by its Aramean population, the Macedonians of Alexander the Great finally called it “Edesse”. It came under the sovereignty of the Seleucids, of Armenia at the time of Tigrane, of the Parthians, the Romans, the Sassanids and the Arabs. The city was christianized around 200, and it remained Byzantine until it fell into the hands of the Seljuks and later the Crusaders. From 1098 and during fifty years the earldom of Edesse with Beaudoin of Boulogne (Godefroy of Bouillon's brother) plaid an important role in the fight of the Frankish states against Islam. Taken back by the Seljuks and the Mamelukes, the city was united very late in 1637 to the Ottoman Empire.
After the War of Independence, the city has acquired the distinguishing title "Sanli" which means "glorious" Urfa.

Sanliurfa is located in a plain in the heart of a fast-expanding region since the construction of the Atatürk Dam.
A stroll through the alleys of the old town is a good opportunity to discover the traditional corbelled houses opening on a courtyard.
The very hot and spicy culinary specialities of Urfa are “Urfa kebab” and “Çig köfte”(a very spicy raw meat ball).

International Atatürk Dam Sailing takes place every year in October in the region.

Sanliurfa is linked to Istanbul and Ankara by daily flights.

Places of interest:

Ulu Camii, the Great Mosque, is the oldest mosque in the city. It was built in the 12th century by Nurreddin, the ruler of Aleppo in Syria, instead of a previous church whose bell tower was used as minaret where a clock tower was added at an unknown period.
Balikli Göl is a large pool full of sacred carps filled with the waters of the Callirhoe Pond. According to Muslim tradition, this is where Abraham rebuked King Nimrod and his subjects for having whorshiped idols. For the insult and his refusal to follow the king's practices, Abraham was condemned to be catapult launched from the city's citadel to fall into a pile of burning wood. But God turned the fagots of the pyre into carps and the flames into water, creating the Sacred Pond composed of two pools.

View of the citadel and the "Throne of Nimrod"

The locals feeding the carps

Rizvaniye Mosque, Balikli Göl
and the carps

The second pool and the throne of Nimrod

The place where Abraham
is thought to have fallen

The second pool is where Nimrod's daughter, Zeliha who begged his father not to accomplish his act, plunged in after Abraham.
Cruel Nimrod's catapult is represented by two Corinthian Columns standing atop the Citadel. The columns are known under the name of "Throne of Nimrod".

Rizvaniye Camii is the Ottoman mosque reflecting into the water of the pool.

Halil ür Rahman Mosque and Medrese are located at the south-western corner of the Pool. This is also the place where, according to legend, Abraham is thought to have fallen when he was thrown into fire.

Abraham's Caves: two caves exist on the northern side of the Citadel of Urfa, and one of them, according to the Muslim tradition, is where Prophet Abraham was born. According to the Old Testament, Abraham stopped at Urfa on his way from Ur to Canaan.

Firfirli Camii
was the Church of the Apostles.

The bazaar is a very busy and colourful place (the traditional fabrics used by the women of the region are sold here) just like the old Hans (Gümrük Han, Barutcu Han...) where different guilds are still working. Kilims of good quality are sold at very good prices.

The old quarter and traditional houses.

The Archaeological Museum.