Day 13 September 12, 2010 Day 14
Table of content for Eastern Turkey Turkey tour
Submitted by Susan Casey
Today the Turkish people will vote for their constitutional amendments. Meli wants NO but all the adds that we have seen through out Turkey said YES. Mardin, still hot! We all slept well I think, pretty much recovering from the heat from yesterday but as the day wore on we felt drugged again so had relaxing naps in cool rooms before dinner out on the deck as the sun went down and the crescent moon and planet star greeted us. But during the day it was so hot that the railings were too hot to touch!
Mardin, the only CITY in Turkey designated by UNESCO as a world heritage museum due in part to the city maintaining its old buildings and not allowing them to be destroyed. Mardin sits high on a hill overlooking the Mesopotamia plain looking toward Syria. Half of the population is Syrian Orthodox and the influence is strong here. We visited the Deysrulzafaran Monastery dating back to 300 AD and in use as a patriarchy until 1932 It was built on an earlier religious spot called the temple of the sun where the tomb room is now located and where all patriarchs of the monastery were buried == buried sitting up and facing east. Underneath the tomb room we visited the original temple of the sun room where the ceiling is flat, not arched. Each stone weighs approximately 3 tons. The ceiling has lasted 3000 years and has never fallen down, even with earthquakes. No one has been able to explain how the ceiling was constructed and made to work. One of the treats before we left the monastery was to hear the words of Jesus said in Aramaic.
One of the unique aspects of this tour is our interaction with people on the street or along the highways stopping to talk with shepherds as they guard their flocks, talking with people as they go about their day. This morning was particularly moving. A man and his young daughter with an IV hookup were standing along the road. We stopped to pick them up and took them home to their village several kilometers away.
When we arrived at the Monastery, we were met by a nice young man who was going to be our guide at this living Monastery. When he told us that the Assyrian Orthodox in Mardin still speak in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, Meli asked if he could read from his bible a teaching of Jesus so we can hear how Jesus would have said what he wanted to teach. We all sat in a shady spot in the 2000 year old Monastery and listened to the melodic words of Aramaic.
It was a very moving experience!
After lunch in a local restaurant we visited a madrasa which is an example of white sheep architecture culture. Originally this structure as a school specializing in astronomy. This was before the days of telescopes. Instead, pools of water were used to reflect and enlarge the stars. The stones used in the building are local and the mortar uses egg whites which also has the effect of repelling insects.
Mardin through the headstones of a grave
Men playing cards in the coffee houses
The kids playing in the streets with guns
visit was to the Museum of Mardin. The long history of Mardin was
displayed in the wonderful collection.
Selcukian pottery depicting a mother goddess figure is a very unique example of the Islam - Era pottery. Since islam is iconaclastic, it is very rare to find any personified images let along a goddess figure.
It was a wonderful day. Tomorrow we will be on our own to explore more of Mardin.
Day 14 Table of content for Eastern Turkey Turkey tour Journal