14 May 2011 Saturday, Day 03 Mardin

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Day 04

After the heavy rain last night, the sky was clear and blue. Mesopotamia was stretching  out at the foot of the hill like an endless ocean. We all had our huge breakfast in the The elegant breakfast hall  This 300 year old building has high domes and wonderful stone walls.

We started at 09:00 am. Walked to our bus through the narrow streets where the donkeys are the only mean of transportation. Mardin is built on a hill.  The stone houses are adorned with carvings . The Fortress which looks like a crown above the city is a witness to the historic importance of the city which is built on the trade and military roads of all ages. The Assyrians, the Meds, the Romans, the Byzantines, Artuks, Selcuks and the Ottomans had all used this city as their guard house. While each civilization had introduced the region a different religion, the Suryani community maintained  their existence based on the teachings of Abraham with out an interruption for two thousand years.

 As soon as Christianity was legalized by Constantine, in the 4th Century they built their monasteries. Dar-ul Zaferan Monastery is the oldest one of the monasteries in the region. It is a functioning monastery built on the foundations of a Temple dedicated to the deities symbolizing the sun. We were guide the through the monastery by a Suryani gentleman . There were few Moslem pilgrimage groups who were visiting the Monastery. Our first stop was the Sun Temple. the ceiling was huge blocks of stone placed horizontally in the ceiling and no vertical support. Then we visited the burials chamber of the Metropolits. they were buried sitting on a chair so that when Jesus came back, they can meet him with their arms open. We also visited the church where art work was reflecting more of the Western interpretations of the biblical images, rather than the traditional Suryani iconography.

We returned to Mardin and visited the Association of the disabled. the president of the organization told us that they have 9980 members. One of the major reason why the have so many disabled in this city is because of inter family marriages. Aslan was our master. He started with a pile of  990 karat silver. He said that for the philligrea ,telkari, they need very soft material to work with so they use 990 K but when they make other types of silver jewelry, the standard is 925 K . To get  925 K, they add 60 gram of copper to a kilo of 990 K silver.
He melted the silver, poured it in a mold. Then he pulled it in to a thread. When the thread of silver was ready, we started our hand on silver experience.

Every one had their little tools in their hand and started twisting and turning to get the flower forms. It was not as easy as it looked.  Every one in the group got compliments from the Master, Aslan.When the work was done, the group purchased their gifts and off every one went out to have the day on their own. Some of them returned to the Copper street and worked with Cihat Ozcan , the coppersmith that we had visited yesterday

The dinner was at 07:30 pm
We have an early departure tomorrow!


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Day 04 Urfa