The ancient city of Dara, located on the southern slope of the Tur Abdin Mountains of Mardin, was established as a garrison city in order to protect the borders of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Sassanids. Dara, which has become the administrative and military base of Upper Mesopotamia, is known as Ephesus of Mesopotamia. Witnessing the war between the Persian Emperor Darius and Alexander the Great, the city reveals the thousands of years of history of the region.
It is not known exactly when the city, whose ancient name was Anastasiopolis, was founded. According to some sources, it was founded by the Parthian King Tiridates I (246-215 BC), and according to some sources, by the Parthian King Arsakes I. In fact, according to some sources, Tiridates I and Arsakes I are already the same person!
One thing is for sure, there is no place as beautiful and safe as this city. Because the city, surrounded by strong rocks, was easy to defend. The products obtained from the fertile lands fed by the rivers were stored in the city.
When the Persians took Nusaybin in 363, this place became the border of the Roman Empire. The city was fortified as a forward border gate by Emperor Anastasius in the 5th century, and this became the administrative and military center of the Northern Mesopotamia Region.
Dara was under the rule of the Sassanid Empire between 577-591 and 606-620, the Eastern Roman Empire between 620-639, the Umayyads towards the end of the 7th century, and then the Abbasids. In the 10th century, it was under the rule of the Eastern Romans for a short time, and until the end of the 11th century, it changed hands between the Seljuk State and the Eastern Roman Empire. In the 15th century, it came under the rule of the Ottomans.
Today, only 10% of the ancient city is on the surface and 90% is still underground. Still, remains of castles, bridges, water channels, water cisterns, churches, arastas, palaces, bazaars, dungeons, armory, rock tombs and civil settlements can be seen. In addition, cave houses dating back to the Late Roman period can be found around the village.
Necropolis (Cemetery Area)
The most impressive place of the ancient city of Dara is the cemetery area carved into the natural rock mass. In this area, there are 3 types of tombs: rock tombs, sarcophagus type tombs and simple cist tombs.
In Pagan and Mithraic cultures, it is believed that the god Mitra was born from the rock. For this reason, the dead are buried in the rocks with the belief of rebirth.
In the ancient city of Dara, there is a large burial ground carved into the bedrock. It was built by the Eastern Romans, who returned from exile in 591, in honor of their people who were killed by the Sassanids after the invasion of 577.
At the entrance of the building, the resurrection and resurrection of the prophet Ezekiel, who resurrected the dead, are animated. It is thought that hundreds of human bones found in the lower floor of the building were collected in this tomb, as it was thought that they would be resurrected as in Ezekiel's miracle.
There are many Muslim cemeteries around a tomb and the graves of those who escaped from the Russian-Chechen War of 1870 and settled in the ancient city of Dara and then lost their lives due to an epidemic.
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