About 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Mardin, in the village of Oguz, on the route to Nusaybin, is where you’ll find the Dara site. Some claim that the legendary Persian monarch Darius is the source of the name. Others assert that Dara-Anastasiopolis was a castle constructed at the start of the sixth century AD by the Byzantine emperor Anastasius on a strategic site against the Persians and utilized as a military stronghold.
Additionally, according to historical accounts, Alexander the Great conquered the region in the fourth century BC. Dara had a population of about 100,000 during the height of the Roman era, and it was a significant commercial hub. Arabs took control of Dara in the seventh century AD, after which it became unimportant and was abandoned. In the fifteenth century AD, the Seljuk Turks had sway over the region.
There is still plenty to unearth at this location, where excavations first began in 1986. When you visit Dara, you can see the enormous underground water cisterns that used to supply the castle with water, a sizable necropolis, an open-air theater, a bridge, the agora, military storage facilities, barracks, homes, churches, an arch dam, and other monumental structures that are mainly carved into the rocks and dispersed across a sizable area.
In comparison to the city, the citadel is perched higher on a hill. Two gates, one in the south and one in the north, together with the city walls’ height of 20 meters and length of roughly 4 kilometers are all now in ruins. Dara’s cisterns, which the villagers also called dungeons, are its most spectacular feature; the rest of the site is difficult to explore.
Nestled in the southeastern corner of Turkey, Dara is a captivating destination that beckons travelers with its rich history and scenic beauty. This ancient city, once a bustling hub of the Byzantine Empire, offers a unique blend of archaeological wonders and natural charm. Visitors can wander through well-preserved ruins, marvel at intricately designed structures, and gain insight into Dara’s illustrious past.