Buildings in an older section of Mardin View from Mardin over the plains of Mesopotamia, with the minaret of the Reyhane Mosque in front. Dayro d-Mor Hananyo also known as Deyrulzafarân, a Syriac Orthodox monastery a few kilometers outside Mardin. Formerly the seat of the Patriarchate of Antioch.Mardin is a city in southeastern Turkey. The capital of Mardin Province, the city is known for its indigenous architecture and uniquely-crafted stone buildings, and for its strategic location on a rocky mountain overlooking the plains of northern Syria. Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Syriacs form the majority of Mardin's 70,000 citizens, who have lived peacefully side-by-side throughout most of the centuries. Turkish language is the lingua franca for communication between these separate ethnic groups.
The earliest settlers in Mardin were Syriac Orthodox Christians, arriving in the 3rd century AD. In fact, most Syriac Orthodox churches and monasteries in the city, which are still active today, date from the 5th century AD, such as the Deyrülzafaran Monastery. Another important church, Kırklar Kilisesi (Church of the 40 Martyrs)originally built in the name of Benham and Saro, the two sons of the Assyrian ruler who executed them because they chose to become Christian, dates from 569 AD. Mardin remained a heavily Christian area during its control by Muslim Arabs between the seventh and twelfth centuries, and even during its use as a capital by the Artukid Turkish dynasty which ruled Eastern Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. The 12th century Sitti Radviyye Madrasa, the oldest of its kind in Anatolia, dates from this period. The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell to the Mongols who took control of the region in 1394, but the Mongols never directly governed the area. Mardin was later controlled by the Turkish Akkoyunlu kingdom. The Kasımiye Madrasa was built by Sultan Kasım, son of the Akkoyunlu Sultan Cihangir, between 1457 and 1502.
Mardin province was added to the Ottoman Empire under Selim I in 1517, and has remained a part of Turkey ever since. In 1832 the city was the site of a Kurdish rebellion. The Assyrians also argue that Mardin was one of the sites of the Assyrian Genocide.