Diyarbakır melting pot of cultures and old walls
Midyat, where church bells ring and the müezzin calls for prayer
Villages of the TURABİN region.
Day 1: Early arrival in Diyarbakır.
After arrival in Diyarbakır, we will start our tour with breakfast at the 450-year-old Hasan Paşa han. We walk through the covered bazaar where craftsmen work and visit Sülüklü Han, the four-legged minaret and the Great Mosque of Diyarbakır which is believed to be one of the oldest mosques in the history of Islam. The impressive city walls are over 9,000 years old, and were restored by Constantine II during the Roman rule in 349.The citadel has 16 towers and 4 gates. From the oldest parts of the walls: Mardin Kapısı (gate) and Keçı burcu (arch) we overlook the green Hevsel gardens and the Tigris river over which a 10 arches-stone-bridge from the eleventh century has been built. Then leave for Midyat. Stop at the bridge in Başkavak, built in 1755 and have lunch by the river in green and lush Savur. The village of Savur has beautifully decorated Arabic houses.
Night: Midyat. Boutique hotel Nehroz.
Distance: 172 km- 3 hrs.
Day 2 :
|Midyat – Mağara köyü (Kiwex) – Mor Gabriel Monastery – TUR ABİN – Midyat|
Midyat is located in TUR ABİN, a high plateau with about 80 villages, a hundred churches and 80 monasteries and bordered by the river Tigris. The landscape is partly Mesopotamian, partly more Mediterranean, green and full of vineyards. Until the 1960s, it was the center of the Syriac Orthodox Christians (Süryani – Suyoye – Syriac), who still live in small numbers in about 20 villages. The other residents, with exception of a few remigrated Yazidis, are generally Kurdish. After breakfast w’ll visit Yezidi village, Mağara köyü, Mor Gabriel, the most famous and oldest existing monastery in the region and a Suyoye village; Anıtlı (Hah) or Gülgöze. Gülgöze (Aynverd-aynwarda) is built on a rock. The village houses a Byzantine church from the fifth century and a school class in the church tower.
Following lunch we explore the narrow streets and centre of Midyat, visit Gelüşke Han caravanserai, built in 1903 and Midyat Konuk evi. .
Overnight : Midyat . Boutique hotel Nehroz.
Distance: 143 km – 3 Hrs.
Dinner recommendation: Gelüşke Han
|TUR ABİN is Syriac or Aramaic for “the mountain of the servants of God” The churches and monasteries in the area are among the oldest in the world and this is clearly visible in the architectural style. Because they also had to defend themselves against persecution, they sometimes look more like a fortress than a church or are built in caves. The Monastery of Mor Gabriel (Deyrulumur Manastır), which has existed since 397, is the holy center of Syrian Orthodox Christians. They split from the other Christians in 451 after a dispute over the nature of Jesus, who according to the Syriac Christians has one divine nature.
Their language is ancient Syriac (Aramaic) and from a stone found during excavations in Adana you can conclude that their history goes back to the Assyrians.
(Y)ezidism can best be described as a remnant of the pré-islamic beliefs of the Iranian peoples. There are clear Mazdaism/ Zoroastrianism elements in the worship of the Supreme Being Jezdan (Ezid), who is the creator of the world and peacock angel “Melek Taus”. The Supreme Being is accompanied by the sun and seven angels, the chief of which is Melek Taus. The sun is prayed for at sunrise and sunset. The Yezidis have written two holy books: the Kitabe Cilve (the book of inspiration) and Meshef Resh (the black book). Sacred texts are mainly distributed orally.
Day 3 :
|Midyat – Beyazsu – Der Mor Evgen monastry – Nusaybin – Dara – Mardin.|
Today’s tour leads to Nusaybin, ancient Nisibis, where about 10 km from the Syrian border stands the Monastery of Mor Evgen (Mor Augen) on the southern slope of Mount İzlo. The monastery was founded in the 4th century and had more than 350 monks during the period when it was still one of the most important spiritual centers in Turabdin. Following a visit to Nusaybin on the Syrian border we continue to Dara to explore the ruins and amazing underground water system. Named after the Roman Emperor Anastasius, this Roman garrison town is carved out of rock and the remains are nothing short of impressive. In Dara, the first dam and irrigation canals in Mesopotamia were built. In Mardin we visit the beautiful medrese of Kasım Padişah, a local leader who reigned 1469 to 1503. The compound surrounds a courtyard with a monumental recess, built over a natural spring.
Overnight in Mardin. Old city hotel.
Recommended restaurant: Bağdadi
Distance: 174 km – 3 hrs.
Day 4 :
|Mardin- Zerzevan Castle -Diyarbakir.|
|The greatest joy of Mardin is exploring the unpredictable lanes of the old city. A large number of fortress-like houses, capable of accommodating an extended family of 40 or 50 around an interior court come in several clusters in the city. The Bazaar area is full of Oriental colours and noise. Not far from it is the Grand Mosque, an oasis of peace. Its tall brown minaret forms a signature of the city. After lunch we drive to Diyarbakır and stop for a visit to Zerzevan castle. This fortress was strategically located on an ancient commercial and military route and was of great importance to the Romans during their expansion to the east. The discovery of a Mithraeum, a Mithras temple in the complex, sparked international interest because the belief in Mithras is a Persian religion and it is quite possible that the temple at Zerzevan is the first temple of the Mithras religion. Moreover, this temple is very well preserved and gives a lot of insight into this mysterious religion, which was brought to Rome with the Roman soldiers from the east. For example, four sacrificial pendants, the pool of bull’s blood and three functional niches can be seen.|
After visiting Zerzevan Castle, we conclude our tour with an evening meal and transfer to Diyarbakır. Distance: 129km – 2hrs
- 4 days minibus
- Local Turksih guide
- 3 nights in boutique hotels x BB
- Transport to Diyarbakır (flight bus, Train)
- Personal expenses
** Departure is with minimum 6 pax ***