Dara ancient city in the southern Mardin region, was one of Mesopotamia’s major commercial centres in ancient times. Visitors who desire to embark on a historical voyage in all its beauty and splendour can do so in the Roman-era city. Excavations and study have been going on at Dara’s Ouz village, which is around 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the province headquarters, for the past 34 years.
Dara’s ruins, which include ancient rock tombs going back to the fifth century A.D., have been compared to the famous city of Ephesus in Aegean Turkey, earning it the moniker “Ephesus of Mesopotamia,” or “breadbasket of the ancient Near East.”
Dara ancient city, an important location along the legendary Silk Road – which saw major wars – stood as the Byzantine Empire’s last stronghold in southeastern Anatolia for years, providing unique opportunity for anyone interested in going on a historical adventure.
In one year, about 1 million local and foreign tourists visited Mardin’s Dara old city, where excavation and restoration work is still ongoing.
“The number of visitors is increasing day by day. We did not expect such a number, but it is a very pleasing result.”
Dara Ancient City is still being excavated, and it is attracting a lot of attention from both local and foreign tourists. Professor Dr. Huseyin Metin, Head of Excavation Caucasus University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Faculty of Archaeology, stated that when they began excavations as Caucasus University in 2020, they set two goals in front of them, the first of which was the excavations’ fruit and subsequent move into tourism.
Metin welcomed everyone to visit Dara for the first time in their lives, saying:
“When we started digging on behalf of Caucasus University in 2020, we had two different plans for Dara. The first is what we will do scientifically in Daraa, and the second is ‘What can we do in terms of tourism?’. We have set a target of 1 million visitors in Dara at the end of 2023, which we can do in terms of tourism. We had close to 500,000 visitors last year. Of course, the pandemic had a negative effect on this. In 2021, there were nearly 1 million visitors. We couldn’t believe it either. We were very surprised by this situation.”