About 30km southeast of Mardin is the village of Dara with its ancient Roman garrison city ruins dating back to the 6th century. Dara is where Mesopotamia's first dam and irrigation canals were built. Various sites are scattered throughout the modern village including a series of rock-cut tombs with a catacomb site and two underground cisterns with a cathedral-like ambience.

The Antik Dara Cafe beside the main rock-tomb site entry provides refreshments. Taxis from Mardin charge around ₺180 return for a trip including Dara and Deyrul Zafaran.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mardin attractions

1. Deyrul Zafaran

12.04 MILES

The magnificent Deyrul Zafaran stands about 6km along a good but narrow road in the rocky hills east of Mardin. The monastery was once the seat of the…

3. Hatuniye Medresesi

14.56 MILES

This medrese (seminary) was built in the 12th century. The complex includes a mosque, with an intricate stone-cut mihrab (niche indicating the direction…

4. Sakıp Sabancı Mardin City Museum

14.59 MILES

Housed in former army barracks, this superb museum showcases the fascinating history and culture of Mardin. Excellent English-language translations and…

5. Şehidiye Cami

14.67 MILES

Look for the elegant, slender minaret of this 14th-century mosque. Access is down the staircase right beside the side of Atilla Çay Bahçesi.

6. Old Post Office

14.71 MILES

Turkey's most impressive post office was built in 1890 and was originally the home of the Şahtana family before becoming Mardin's post office in the 1950s…

7. Ulu Cami

14.83 MILES

This 12th-century Iraqi Seljuk structure suffered badly during the Kurdish rebellion of 1832. Inside it's fairly plain, but the expansive courtyard and…

8. Sultan İsa (Zinciriye) Medresesi

14.87 MILES

Dating from 1385, this medrese (seminary) complex's highlight is the imposing recessed doorway, but make sure you wander through the pretty courtyards and…