Sites & cities that bear the name of Mardin


Today in : Turkey
First trace of activity : ca. 20th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : KURIzalla, KURAzalli, KURAzalzi, Izalā, Marida, Merida, Mêrdîn‎, ماردين‎, ܡܪܕܝܢ‎

Description : Mardin (Kurdish: Mêrdîn‎, Arabic: ماردين‎, Syriac: ܡܪܕܝܢ‎, romanized: Merdīn) is a city in southeastern Turkey. The capital of Mardin Province, it is known for the Artuqid architecture of its old city, and for its strategic location on a rocky hill near the Tigris River that rises steeply over the flat plains. The old town of the city is under the protection of UNESCO, which forbids new constructions to preserve its façade. Its population is split evenly between Arabs and Kurds. Historically, as a rich cultural hub with traces "from Muslim, Syriac, Yakubi, Chaldean, Nesturi, Yezidi, Jewish, Kurdish, Arab, Chechen, and Armenian influences", Mardin has been promoted as an "open-air museum". The territory of Mardin and Karaca Dağ was known as Izalla in the Late Bronze Age (variously: KURAzalzi, KURAzalli, KURIzalla), and originally part of a Hurrian kingdom. The city and its surrounds were absorbed into Assyria proper during the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BC), and then again during the Neo Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC). The ancient name was rendered as Izalā in Old Persian, and during the Achaemenid Empire (546–332 BCE) according to the Behistun Inscription it was still regarded as an integral part of the geo-political entity of Assyria (Achaemenid Assyria, Athura). It survived into the Assyrian Christian period as the name of Mt. Izala (Izla), on which in the early 4th century AD stood the monastery of Nisibis, housing seventy monks. In the Roman period, the city itself was known as Marida (Merida), from a Syriac/Assyrian Neo-Aramaic language name translating to "fortress". Between c.150 BC and 250 AD (apart from a brief Roman intervention when it became a part of Assyria (Roman province) it was part of the Neo-Assyrian kingdom of Osroene. In the late 3rd century AD Shapur II conquered Mardin and Osroene into the Sassanid Empire (224–651 AD) after which the region became part of the province of Assuristan. Byzantine Izala fell to the Seljuks in the 11th century. During the Artuqid period, many of Mardin's historic buildings were constructed, including several mosques, palaces, madrassas and khans. Mardin served as the capital of one of the two Artuqid branches during the 11th and 12th centuries. The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell to the Mongol invasion sometime between 1235 and 1243, but the Artuqids continued to govern as vassals of the Mongol Empire. During the battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, the Artuqid governor revolted against Mongol rule. Hulagu's general and Chupan's ancestor, Koke-Ilge of the Jalayir, stormed the city and Hulegu appointed the rebel's son, al-Nasir, governor of Mardin. Although, Hulagu suspected the latter's loyalty for a while, thereafter the Artuqids remained loyal unlike nomadic Bedouin and Kurd tribes in the south western frontier. The Mongol Ilkhanids considered them important allies. For this loyalty they showed, Artuqids were given more lands in 1298 and 1304. Mardin later passed to the Aq Qoyunlu, a federation of Turkic tribes that controlled territory all the way to the Caspian Sea. During the medieval period, the town (which retained significant Assyrian and Armenian populations) became the centre for episcopal sees of Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Church of the East, Syriac Catholic, churches, as well as a stronghold of the Syriac Orthodox Church, whose patriarchal see was headquartered in the nearby Saffron Monastery from 1034 to 1924. In 1451 the Kara Koyunlu besieged the castle of Mardin, damaging the city after their failed attempt to take the stronghold. About half a century later, in 1507, Ismail I of the Safavids succeeded to capture the city and the castle.

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