Midyat Things to Do

  • Inside the church.
    Inside the church.
    by June.b
  • The road leading to the monastery's gate.
    The road leading to the monastery's...
    by June.b
  • The church.
    The church.
    by June.b

Most Recent Things to Do in Midyat

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    The Clock Tower of the Old Town

    by June.b Written Mar 28, 2013

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    You know that you’re already at the center of the old part of Midyat once you see this monument standing right at the roundabout of Mardin Simar Yolu, Batman Yolu and Cumhuriyet Blv.

    The clock tower is engraved with images of a minaret representing the muslim population of the town , church tower representing the Christians, and a peacock for the Yezidis – all signifying multi-cultural segments of the town’s population.

    You can catch the minibus around this clock that will take you to Estel – the new part of town.

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    The Streets of Midyat

    by June.b Written Mar 28, 2013

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    The old city of Mardin may have an interesting and an edge on its location on top of the mountain, but in comparison, Midyat offers the same type of old houses albeit on plain grounds. The streets of old Midyat are wider and not much elevated so less strenuous to navigate.

    Similar to Mardin, the old houses in Midyat are of the same architectural plans, made of stones, honey colored edifices, and less touristic.

    Wander around the backstreets, and you’ll find many interesting houses and old churches. There are occasional children asking for “money” but they aren’t that much a nuisance.

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    Ulu Camii

    by June.b Updated Mar 28, 2013

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    The new part of the town of Midyat has a grand mosque (ulu camii) located the new town center surrounded by local houses.

    The stone arched entrance is elaborately carved with some form of plants and grapes and mostly geometric shapes. On the top, it has an engraving that says 1130 Hicri, so I converted that to Gregorian calendar and it corresponds to 1717 – 1718. That must be the year the ulu camii was built. The mosque is in simple rectangular design. It has one cylindrical minaret with one balcony and it’s a courtyard-type mosque.

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    Estel Hani Halk Evi

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    Estel Hani Halk Evi
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    This is a caravanserai located in the new part of Midyat called Estel.

    The han has just been restored and houses some antique shop, a telkari (metalwork shop) and coffeehouses with small low tables and chairs where locals bide their time.

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    Midyat Beledeyesi Kultur Evi

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    Midyat Beledeyesi Kultur Evi
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    I passed by this stone mansion in Estel, the new part of Midyat and I thought it’s a municipal building, so the second time I passed by there I asked the guy at the gate if it’s a museum, he said yes and he called his colleague to guide me inside the gorgeous house. I’m glad I inquired because I almost missed this beautiful cultural house (kultur evi).

    It is hard to find information of many sights in Midyat online including this – at least in english.

    The Kultur Evi is located right at the plaza at the end of Dr. Alaaettin Aslan Cad.

    The historic mansion which was there for more than a century was just recently restored by the Municipality of Midyat. The 2 storey mansion built on 550 square meters of land serves as the home of the municipal culture.

    It welcomes foreign and local visitors, the local elders, scholars, artists, politicians, athletes, as well as conduct various cultural activities, meetings, presentations, chat sessions in and about the premise.

    The people working at this cultural house are very welcoming, the guy who accosted me was so eager and patient showing me all the chambers of the mansion.

    The house has several rooms which are mostly arched-ceilings. Well-ornamented and furnished with nice antiques, old and new furnitures. Some of them are bedrooms, study rooms, reception salons. There is a small terrace overlooking the happenings on the plaza below.

    My last stop was the cave-like chambers on the ground floor – or probably underground I can’t remember perfectly. But the chambers are really gorgeous and one room leads to another through arched entrances that looked like they were carved like caves decorated with interesting objects such as copper and brasses, carpets, mostly antiques.

    Here’s a trivia, almost all the rooms have wall carpet frames with Turkish famous people and celebrities with their names on it – statesmen, religious personalities, artists, famous movie and music personalities, football players, and so much more.

    All the cave rooms are well lighted so nothing spooky.

    I was surprised that entry is free and with a guide, well, he did not speak English but nice to have someone steering you to the right directions so as not to miss some interesting area of the mansion.

    Compared to the famous Konuk Evi at old Midyat which started to charge – albeit on a give-away charge of TL1 – where I did not see any of the rooms, in Kultur Evi, they will “force” you to check-out all the rooms. That was really nice.

    I highly recommend a visit to this mansion when you’re in Midyat.

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    Cevat Pasha Mosque

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    The gate of the mosque with the dome in background
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    This mosque is probably the first sight that you will encounter when you start your tour of the town from the very center – the clock roundabout.

    The mosque is built in 1925 by Cevat Pasha – where it derived its name of course.

    The single minaret is made up of Midyat rock, and has cylindrical shape. It has two balconies decorated with vegetables and geometric patterns.

    The big mosque is situated right next to a park and the tourism office - I wish though that the tourism office is manned and active.

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    The Old Houses of Midyat

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    The old houses of Midyat.
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    Roam around the back streets of the town and you’ll immediately have that ancient - or medieval? -feel to the place. The picturesque houses of Midyat beams golden honey color especially during the sunset. Most of them are inhabited but some are derelicts. Some of them are under the preservation order of the municipality.

    You’ll find several children coming from school and some playing along the streets in the afternoon.

    There are also sheeps, cows and chicken as there are some stables on the ground level of some houses.

    The only thing dampens my walking enjoyment are some kids asking for money. They learned the "money" word fast.

    I passed by 3 young people, looking like local tourist and one of them - a young lady - is telling one small kid walking along the street the word "money", it appeared to me that the young lady taught the little kid what to ask from me. That wasn't cool.

    It's easy though to avoid by ignoring them, no talks just continue walking.

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    Churches of Midyat

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    Church near the Konuk Evi.
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    There are several other churches in the old town of Midyat - I think they are more than the mosques as it dominate the skyline of the town.

    Sadly most of them are all closed for visitors. They no longer function, no masses being held, padlocked and empty.

    No signs either so it's hard to get an idea of the name of the churches, but I’m posting their pictures here anyway, maybe someone would give an information.

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    Midyat Devlet Konuk Evi

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    Midyat Devlet Konuk Evi
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    This mansion became more popular when it was used for the setting of the action-romance Turkish soap opera “Sila”.
    This Konuk Evi (guest house) is a gorgeous architectural example of the town. Considered as the finest of all the grand stone houses in Midyat, it is also called the Governor’s Guesthouse.

    It is situated on a high elevation and dominates the highest point in the old town. I went all the way up to the roof of the mansion to have a really commanding view of the whole town. It’s amazing up there.

    I think they’re getting reservations for the guesthouses – at times?

    Not to be missed.

    Entry fee is a give-away at only TL1 (or 2?)

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    Mor Abraham & Mor Hobel Monastery

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    The road leading to the monastery's gate.
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    This monastery is located at the back of the old town about a kilometer walk from the edge of the town, take the road in front of the Kasr-i-Nehroz Hotel. The Turabdin Hotel is almost beside the monastery, few steps from its entrance.

    The 1,700 year-old church was established by two monks from Mar Gabriel on 5th century.

    The monastery can be visited at certain hours of the day as they close the main gate after visiting hours. I was there during late noontime and after a bus of visitors, the young guy at the gate closes it. During my visit (March 2013) visitors are only allowed to enter the church and around the courtyard but going up the buildings are not allowed.

    There are several graves at the premise, right before the entrance of the church and at one corner of the courtyard.

    The Monastery of Mor Abraham and Mor Hobel has very high walls as according to reports, it has been the subject of grave-robbing and vandalism.

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    Mor Barsawmo Syriac Orthodox Church

    by June.b Written Mar 27, 2013

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    Mor Barsawmo Syriac Orthodox Church
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    The Mor Barsaumo church is located near the center of the old town of Midyat. The 1,500 year-old church is full of kids playing on its courtyard every afternoon as classes for local Assyrian children is being thought for those who want learn how to read in Aramaic.

    Reconstructed in 1943 and made mostly of cut stones. Visitors are welcome to enter without anyone minding you walk around the premise. An old man opened the church for visitors to see the interior of the church. I and 2 more tourists were there during my visit.

    Entry is free.

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    Estel

    by MM212 Updated Feb 27, 2013

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    Estel & its Ulu Camii from a distance, Dec 2012

    Located at the western end of town, Estel was, until less than a century ago, a separate town. Sometime since then, as the modern sprawl of both towns converged, the two officially merged under Midyat's name. Much like Old Midyat, Estel is ancient and consists of winding alleys and centuries-old, richly decorated stone mansions, but unlike Midyat, Estel had an Arab-speaking Moslem population, and thus substitued churches with mosques. What is known as Ulu Camii in Turkish, the 200 year old Great Mosque of Estel/Midyat, is located in this neighbourhood, as is the Museum of Midyat. The Arabs of town, who were referred to as Mhallami (or Mhalmoyo in Syriac), are said to have been Syriac Christians until they converted to Islam en masse in the 17th century to protest their church's inflexibility on dietary issues during a famine. They are thus inextricable from complex and sensitive debates and claims surrounding race, ethnicity, and nationhood of the Syriac Christians... Are they Arab or are they Aramaean? And should the Syriac Christians, who had been Arab speaking for centuries, even be considered anything but Arab...? Explosive topic for another tip (see the Local Customs tips to learn more)... As you ponder such issues, consider taking the time to stroll the alleys of Estel and visiting the Great Mosque.

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    Midyat's Clock Towers

    by MM212 Updated Feb 22, 2013

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    Clock Tower at Old Estel, Dec 2012
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    Midyat has two clock towers, one just outside Old Midyat, and the other just outside the Old Estel neighbourhood. Both are built using the local yellow stone and are decorated with stone carvings similar to local mansions and churches. The one outside midyat has a haut-relief of a church tower, a mosque minaret, and a peacock, to represent the harmony and religious tolerance of the city. The peacock is the symbol of the Yezidis, but unfortunately none remain in the city.

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    Suriani Church of Mor Akhsnoyo

    by MM212 Updated Feb 22, 2013

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    Bell Tower of Mor Akhsnoyo, Dec 2012
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    Located at the south-eastern edge of Old Midyat (near Kasr-ı Nehroz Hotel), this church is the oldest surviving in Midyat. It is thought to have been built in the 4th century AD on the site of an older pagan temple. The church is dedicated to Mor Akhsnoyo (Mor = Saint) who is known in the West as Philoxenos of Mabbug (Mabbug is modern Manbij, in northern Syria). The name is sometimes also spelt Asnoyo. It is said that his relics (head?) were moved to this church around the 8th century and it has since been dedicated to him. The existing structure, however, is from a mid-20th century reconstruction. This church is one of several in Old Midyat and it serves the now small Syriac Orthodox (Suriani) community. It was locked up when we walked past it on Christmas Day 2012.

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    Old Midyat

    by MM212 Updated Feb 21, 2013

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    Alleys of Old Midyat, Dec 2012
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    Well-preserved and picturesque, Old Midyat owes its charm to the elegant stone mansions, winding alleys, and ornate church bell towers that characterise the town. The sight of a herd of sheep or free-roaming cows drifting from adjacent farms is not uncommon, and makes Old Midyat all the more surreal. Although most of those who visit Midyat tend to spend their days travelling to nearby attractions, such as Hasankeyf and the monasteries of Tur Abdin, it is very much worth spending half a day strolling this part of town to admire its stunning architecture and to search for its hidden churches. If lucky, one might be able to visit a church or two, which are seldom open and are difficult to identify, were it not for their bell towers. Do not be shy and ring the doorbell, and you might just get a tour. Also worth trying are Old Midyat’s handful of boutique hotels and tasty restaurants. My only disappointment with Old Midyat is that it has little commercial life – hardly any shops and no market. All commercial activity is located in the modern streets of New Midyat.

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