Mardin is a city in southeastern Turkey. The capital of Mardin Province, it is known for the Artuqid (Artıklı or Artuklu in Turkish) architecture of its old city, and for its strategic location on a rocky hill near the Tigris River that rises steeply over the flat plains.
Mardin is one of the oldest settled areas in upper Mesopotamia. Excavations done in the 1920s discovered remains in the area that dated to 4000 BC. The first known civilization were the Subarians who were then succeeded in 3000BC by the Hurrians. The Elamites gained control around 2230 BC and were followed by the Babylonians, Hittites, Assyrians, Romans and Byzantines.
In 692, the Muslim Ummayads arrived and introduced Islam. The Abbasid Caliphate based in Baghdad replaced them in 824. Factions of the Seljuk Turks fought each other over Mardin as it changed hands many times before it was finally taken by Nahm ad-din Ilghazi, the bey of the Artukids, a Turkish dynasty founded by the Seljuk Emir Artuk. During the Artukid period, many of Mardin's historic buildings were constructed, including several Mosques, Palaces, Madrassas and Hans.
The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell to the Mongols sometime between 1235 and 1243, but the Mongols never directly governed the area. The Artukid family ruling Mardin became vassal state of the Mongol Empire. During the battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, the Artuqid (Artık) ruler revolted against the Mongol rule. Hulegu's general and Chupan's ancestor, Koke-Ilge of the Jalayir, stormed the city and Hulegu appointed the rebel's son, al-Nasir, governor of Mardin. Although, Hulegu suspected the latter's loyalty for a while, thereafter the Artukids remained loyal unlike nomadic Bedoun and Kurd tribes in the south western frontier. The Mongol Ilkhanids considered them important allies. For this loyalty they shown, Artukids were given more lands in 1298 and 1304. Mardin later passed to the Akkoyunlu, a federation of Turkic tribes that controlled territory all the way to the Caspian Sea. In 1517, Mardin was annexed by the Ottomans under Selim the Grim. During this time, Mardin was administered by a governor directly appointed under the Ottoman Sultan's authority. In 1923, with the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Mardin was made the administrative capital of a province named after it.
Mardin has often been considered an open air museum due to its historical architecture. Most buildings use the beige colored limestone rock which has been mined for centuries in quarries around the area. (Taken from Vikipedia)
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