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Destination South Eastern Region

“Oriental” will be your first thought when you see the buildings and the historical places. Even though the vibrant atmosphere, this section will give a great mysterious feeling to you. These lands were called as “garden of Aden” and you must have more than four gigabyte memory-card for your camera. How many times can you see the heaven?

DID YOU KNOW ABOUT SOUTH EAST OF TURKEY?

» UNESCO declares Mt. Nemrut as World Heritages.
» The First University in History is in Harran, Turkey
» Tarsus is the birthplace of St. Paul the Apostle.
» The first church that is built by man (St. Peter's Church) is in Antioch (Antakya)
» The oldest sculpture on the world found in Urfa remains from 13 century BC.
» The biggest open-air temple of Ancient world found in Urfa - Gobekli Tepe.

MARDIN
Located between Dicle River and Firat River, Mardin is one of the oldest city in Mesopotamia Area in the upper Mesopotamia. The human settlement in the area started before 4500 B.C. and was first established on the top of a mountain in the area.Today, the area has a very strategic location with this rocky mountain overlooking the plains of Northern Syria. 
This mystic city of yellow cut-stone houses will feed your soul with its aura and ambiance. Because of its location, the city was visited by travelers and caravans. They all left their cultural remarks that you can trace both in the history and food of the region;
Besides Mardin Museum with a great archeological collection (Pottery, seals, cylinder seals, coins, lamps, figurines, teardrop bottles, jewelry) dating from Bronze Age, Early Iron Age, Asur, Urartus, Persians, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottoman Empire; Mardin houses several ancient mosques, monasteries, churches, tombs, castles, madrasahs you will be amazed with rich history and magnificence. 
Mardin is mostly famous for its oriental architecture remaining from different civilizations in the past. The artifacts, constructions and buildings left from Subari, Sumer, Akad, Babil, Mitanni, Asur, Persian, Byzantine, Seljuks, Arabs, Artuklu and Ottoman Empire. That makes the city as an open air museum in each step with archeological, architectural and historical value. 
Traditional Mardin Houses are representing the shape of the whole city. Mardin has preserved the old-style carving in its houses. Surrounded by 4 meters high walls and isolated from the street, houses reflect all features of a closed-in life style. The walls also provide protection from hard and cold climatic conditions. The houses are decorated with different design motives, columns, Windows and doors reflec
You will be surprised with the cultural diversity enriched by deep-rooted culture of different communities including the oldest Christian community, the Suryani. While The history and religious sites especially in Midyat district amazing you, delicious food and local handicrafts will captivate you.

ŞANLIURFA (HARRAN)
Known as “Edessa” in ancient times, Şanlıurfa is a very special Anatolian city which has figured in all the Holy Book. 
The history of Şanlıurfa is recorded from the 4th century BC, but may date back to 9000 BC. Urfa was conquered repeatedly throughout history and has been dominated by many civilizations. It has a very deep-rooted history and traces a wide range of cultural, religious and architectural remarks from the city past. 
According to both the Bible and Quran, it is the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, now Palestine (recommended visit: the mosque complex surrounding Abraham's Cave). It was first in Sanliurfa that early Christians were permitted to worship freely, and the first churches were constructed openly. Pagan temples were converted to synagogues, synagogues to churches, churches to mosques, and this resulted in a unique eclectic architecture. 
Şanlıurfa is a city of ancient traditions, friendships and mystical associations as bringing together people sharing the same pleasures, world views and ideas. Today, Urfa is a surprising mix of the Turkish, Arab and Kurdish population, with both peasants haggling in the traditional bazaar and also young technocrats and engineers in modern section. The city has an oriental atmosphere with a very rich cultural fabric reflecting many customs and traditions. 
Harran, which is a town an hour away distance from the city center, is standing in the desert with its beehive-like dwellings and its great castle. You can visit Harran Fortress and the ruins of the mysterious Temple of Sin (known as the first university in the world. In Harran, don’t miss to see Gobekli Tepe, the oldest temple in the world and one of the most important archaeological sites nearby Urfa which changed everything we knew about the Stone Age people.
As the city of Urfa is such a deeply rooted in history, it has also a unique cuisine, an amalgamation of the cuisines of several civilizations that ruled in Urfa. The city is mostly famous for its very rich kebab culture made of lamb meat, fat, offal and hot.It is also widely believed that the city is the birthplace of many dishes including Raw Kibbé. According to the legend, it was crafted by Abraham from the ingredients he had in hand. Don’t miss to taste the bitter "Menengiç kahvesi" after diner as the most common hot beverages of Urfa.
The old trading centres, today serving as touristic bazaars, Kazzaz Bazaar, Sipahi Bazaar and Huseyniye Bazaars are worth to visit with an authentic value and local commodities, dresses, kilims etc. You can also meet many artizans of traditional handicrafts like felt making, tannery, stone working, weaving, woodworks, copper works, saddle making, fur making and jewelry works.

MOUNT NEMRUD
Nemrut is a 2,134 m (7,001 feat) high mountain located in Kahta, near Adıyaman City. It’s a huge necropolis which is home to the beheaded gods of the past and one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period.
In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene, being so proud of his royalty and power, and in the intention to be remembered in the future, he decided to sit and watch the sun rise and down with his Gods and Goddesses forever built on the mountain top a tomb flanked by huge statues of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian,and Iranian Gods (Some of them: Apollo, Zeus, Tyche, Vahagn, Aramazd, Ahura Mazda.) which testify to the cultural mix of the area. Their names were inscribed upon them 
This area was a cross-road of people but there was a single enemy at that time – The Romans. Antiochus wanted to keep his kingdom of Commagene independent even while many Anatolian territories were being annexed. The enemy became a treasured ally.
After the death of Antiochus, along the history, there has been a collective effort to demolish the statues to bring down the gods. All of the statues have been decapitated and their heads roughly removed from their bodies. Despite this shameful act, the heads and the ruins of the tomb-sanctuary of Antiochus are magnificent. The site is generally considered as the 8th wonder of the world. 
The best time to visit Mt. Nemrut is early morning because you will have the opportunity to watch the breathtaking sunrise with a reflection on the ruins . 
In 1987, Mount Nemrut was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 
In 1989, Nemrut Dag and its environs were declared a national park.

ZEUGMA
Zeugma, is an antique city which flourished in Roman Empire, currently located 10 km east from Gaziantep, by the river Euphrates. It’s a historical settlement which is considered among the four most important settlement areas under the reign of the kingdom of Commagene. 
The ancient city of Zeugma was originally founded as a Greek settlement by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the generals of Alexander The Great, in 300 BC. At that time the city was named after the general and called “ Selevkaya Euphrates.”
In 64 B.C., Zeugma was conquered and ruled by Roman Empire. With this shift, the name of the city was changed into Zeugma to mean “bridge-passage.” Because, the Zeugma city was on the silkroad connecting Antiach to China with a quay on the river Euphrates. During the roman rule, the city became one of the attractions in the region due to its commercial potential originating from geostrategic location. 
The importance of the city increased as well upon the settlement of a military garrison called IV Legion. Artistic activities increased in the city and a cultural development is achieved parallely to progress in trade volume.

After an invasion by Sassanians and an earthquake right after, the city was fully destroyed. Zeugma was not able to recover for a long time and the city never regained the prosperity once achieved during the Roman rule.
During the 5th and 6th Centuries, the city was ruled by the Early Byzantine Empire. As a result of the Arab raids, the city was abandoned once again. Finally a village called “Belkis” was founded in the 17th century. Later on Belkis/Zeugma became one of the four major attractions of the Kingdom of Commagene.

For more details about the deep history of Zeugma, magnificent ruins of the ancient city and the best base-mosaics exhibited in Gaziantep Museum are really worth to see.

ANTAKYA ARCHAEOLOGY MUSEUM
Hatay (Antioch) Archaeology Museum is considered as the second biggest Roman and Byzantine mosaic and third biggest coin collection of the world.

The mosaics were recovered from Antioch (Antakya), the garden suburb of Daphne (now called Harbiye), from Roman Mediterranean seaside villas, and from Tarsus by archeological teams from Princeton University in the early decades of the 20th century. The museum opened to the public in 1948.

The artistry of the mosaics is amazing: when you look close, all you see is little bits of colored stone. If you look from the optimal distance, you see distinct images with subtle colors.

In addition to the spectacular mosaic collection, the museum also displays many important artifacts discovered in Antioch and surrounding regions. Some of them are; column capitals, a sacrificial altar, idols, reliefs, grave steles, pottery objects, frescoes, jewelry, and statues from the Hittite to Byzantine periods. Several halls are dedicated to other aspects of Romanand Byzantine culture, with exhibits of marble sarcophagi, coins, pots, tools, glassware and statuary.

ANTAKYA SAINT PETER CHURCH
The Church of St. Peter is actually a cave with a stone facade, carved into the mountainside on Mount Starius near Antioch /Antakya. This cave which was used by early Christians in Antakya region is one of Christianity's oldest churches.

Christian tradition considers St. Peter, the first Apostle, as the founder of the church of Antioch, and the first priest of the Christian population that was established there. This cave is widely believed to have been dug by the Apostle Peter himself as a place for the early Christian community of Antioch to meet and to be the very first Christian church.

The oldest surviving parts of the church remain from at least the 4th or 5th century including some pieces of floor mosaics and traces of frescoes.

Although it is a museum today, it is stil possible to perform ceremonies inside under the inspection of the Museum Management by obtaining a permit from the Office of the Provincial Governor.

GÖBEKLİTEPE
Recently found in SanliUrfa, Göbeklitepe is one of the most important archaeological digs in the world and the oldest man-made place of worship yet discovered, considered as “The World’s First Temple”. 
It is the oldest known human-made religious structure. The site was most likely erected by hunter-gatherers 12,000 years ago and has been under excavation process since 1994 by German and Turkish archaeologists.
Gobeklitepe consists of not only one, but many of such stone age temples. The temple is a a series of more than sixty multi-ton T-shaped limestone pillars, mainly circular and oval-shaped structures set on the top of a hill. The site has yielded no traces of habitation—no trash pits, no water source, no houses, no roofs, no domestic plant or animal remains and so is believed to have been built by hunter-gatherers, who used it as a religious sanctuary. The animal images "probably illustrate stories of hunter-gatherer religion and beliefs
Göbeklitepe is unique in its class and has revolutionised our understanding of hunter-gatherer culture. It’s a journey into the beginning of humanities..