Official language: Turkish
Time zone: UTC +3
Currency: Turkish lira (TRY)
Mardin is situated on the hill of altitude of 1083 metres above the sea level. The old town is on its peak. Such location was supposed to facilitate defence in case of raids.
There is no railway station in the town. Railways end a few kilometres in the south from Mardin, in a village Istasyon. Due to high elevation, putting railway was aborted.
If you sleep in the old part of the city, you have to watch out for closing hours of shops. At 10 pm you won’t be able to make any shopping. Even liquor shops, though normally opened a bit longer, are closed at that time.
The Turkish city that each year attracts crowds of tourists who want to admire closely unique architecture dated back to rules of Artuqid dynasty, from the 12th century to the beginning of the 15th century. The old town is situated on the hill, from which is the best view for buildings of modern Mardin, that lies down the hill. This is where you should pick up sightseeing from. Local mountain range used to be the norther border of Mesopotamia.
Make sure to visit a local museum at Cumhuriyet Caddesi, whose premises is a renovated residence from the end of the 19th century. In the museum you can see, among others, an Assyrian vase from the 7th century B.C. or findings from nearby Girnavas, coming from the bronze époque. Second worth attention museum, Sakıp Sabancı, is at Eski Hükümet Caddesi. There used to be barracks at that spot, nowadays you can learn there history and culture of Mardin.
Time for shopping! At Cumhuriyet Caddesi, that is one crossroad away from the hill’s top, there is a huge bazaar in very Arabic style. Watch out for ubiquitous donkeys, for centuries used as the best mean of transportation in this mountain terrain. You can get literally everything – from food, through textiles, to household appliances. If you want to buy souvenir from Mardin, choose a soft, richly decorated shawl. Remember that bargaining over prices is mandatory.
One of the most beautiful mosques in Mardin is originated from the 14th century Şehidiye Camii. You will recognize it from afar by single, tall minaret. It looks like a rocket ready for the launch. When you get there, book at least one hour for a walk in the neighbourhood. It is equally lovely, and your attention will be grabbed by nearly every detail of facades of houses. Other mosque worth attention is at Cumhuriyet Caddesi, it is a mosque Zinciriye with impressive, huge doors. It has also the view point from which the city is perfectly seen.