"The Tur Abdin Region" Mardin Ili by MM212
Mardin Ili Travel Guide: 102 reviews and 376 photos
With its numerous villages crowned by ancient churches and monasteries, the Tur Abdin region is considered by Suriani (Syriac Orthodox) Christians the holiest area after Jerusalem. It is a remote plateau in northern Mesopotamia, with a picturesque, semi-arid landscape of undulating agricultural terrain. Its name means "Mountains of the Servants (of God)", both in Arabic and the Syriac language, in reference to the monasticism which had characterised religious activity here since the earliest days of Christianity, and which has left us with a handful of the world's oldest monasteries and churches. Historically, geographically, culturally, and ethnically, the Tur Abdin had been inseparable from Greater Syria and Mesopotamia, but as the Ottoman Empire collapsed during WWI, the region found itself in modern Turkey, just north of the new border drawn by France and Britain. Turbulent events and contentious politics in the past century have altered the demographics (along with the names of most of the villages) of the region, greatly disadvantaging the native Suriani population, who have since struggled to maintain their ancient traditions and culture.
The fascinating Tur Abdin region lies in southeastern Turkey, just north of the Syrian border. It is most easily accessed from Diyarbakir, Mardin, or Midyat (the unofficial capital of the Tur Abdin region).
15-day Turkey itinerary in Dec 2012/Jan 2013:
Istanbul; Elazığ - Diyarbakir - Midyat - Hasankeyf - Tur Abdin Region^ - Mardin - Kızıltepe - Viranşehir - Urfa - Antep - Kilis; Istanbul
^Tour of the Tur Abdin includes:
- Gönüllü (Derdile)
- Gökçepınar (Ese)
- İzbırak (Zaz)
- Anıtlı (Hah)
- Altıntaş (Kfarze)
- Narlı (Ahlah)
- Bağlarbaşı (Arnas)
- Barıştepe (Salah)
- Mor Gabriel Monastery
- Ömerli (Ma'asarte)
- Eskikale (Qala'et Mara)
- Deyrulzafaran Monastery
The Suriani Church, which is known in English as the Syriac Orthodox Church, is one of the oldest in Christianity, and... more travel advice
Considered the capital of the Tur Abdin region, Midyat is an ancient town where church bell towers still dominate the... more travel advice
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