Dara Mesopotamia Ruins
Dara Mesopotamia Ruins
4.5
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The area
Address
Village of Oguz, 30 Km Southeast of Mardin, Mardin 47100 Türkiye
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles378 reviews
Excellent
279
Very good
67
Average
25
Poor
7
Terrible
0

Jack V
Los Angeles, CA1,447 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
this ancient city is soon to be a UNESCO site and it is well deserved. it is almost 1500 years old and comprised of: city walls, a necropolis, graves and tombs and a beautiful cistern that is approximately 100 or so meters away under a locals home. this entire area has hidden ancient walls and what not in the middle of the neighborhood, in back yards and often times a house was built right on top of the ruins.
Written July 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Edin Krnic
Tuzi, Montenegro3,668 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020 • Friends
This really awesome to visit this ancient city. 1490 years old town is located on way from Mardin to Cizre. Entrance is free of charge and this is must visit place in this part of Turkey. On the gate is very nice tour guy Sinan.
Written December 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TrishHWashington_DC
Washington DC, DC136 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2012 • Friends
I toured the Dara ruins in late April 2012. It's not far from from Mardin and the ruin is not even listed in older tour guides. Although the ruins are not well-marked and information lacking, some of its charm is the fact that it's not a busy tourist stop--yet. The small Kurdish village of Oguz now co-occupies its location and gave me some memorable moments. When debarking from your transportation at the necropolis, you may hear a villager singing an old Kurdish tune. In fact, if you have a guide trying to explain the ruins as you walk through the necropolis, the singer may follow and drown out the guide. Have no fear, as he is good-natured and easily shooed back to his station at the entrance where he'll belt out the same tune from time to time. It's the darling village children who are charming and want to talk with you. They're not pests or hawkers, simply children who enjoy your company and can be quite helpful. They speak Kurdish at home, speak Turkish at school, and in the third grade, begin learning English. So they want to practice and are a very loving bunch.

Dara, founded by Roman Emperor Anastasius I in 505 AD, was an important East Roman fortress city built on the border with the Sassanid Persian Empire (last pre-Islamic Persian Empire). The city was built as a refuge for the Roman army who was walloped in previous Roman-Persian battles mainly because of no outpost for the Roman Army to gather its strength. It also served to guard against inroads of the Persians and Saracens. The new city was built on three hills (in great haste), endowed with storehouses, a public bath, water cisterns, and the necropolis, which is the most prominent ruin standing. Over the years the walls were were built higher (to 60 feet) and the towers raised to 100 feet with a moat surrounding. The nearby river Cordes was diverted to flow through the city thus ensuring amply water supply and denying a water supply to a besieging enemy, thus saving the city on several occasions. To avert the danger of flooding, an elaborate arch dam was built, one of the earliest known of its kind. The city lost it's military significance and was eventually abandoned when captured in AD 639 by the Arabs.

After touring the necropolis, walk up to the village with the children who will show you the arched bridges and the awesome underground water cistern. I didn't see the agora, fortress wall, or tower, nor the arched dam, but armed with better information than I had, you may find these places amid the ruins.

I highly recommend this stop while in SE Turkey. Give yourself 1-2 hours. Aside from the "opera" singer, the quiet countryside lends a certain atmosphere to this remote area, giving one the feeling of being back in time when the whistling wind was all the noise one heard and Middle Eastern armies may march by at any given time.
Written May 2, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fisun P
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico54 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019
I didn’t know what to expect about this town and the history around it. If you are a traveler, you have to visit Mardin and Dara ruins.
You need a great tour guide which we had the best!!! His name is Sinan Dara Aba!!
Not only he was a great tour guide, he also loved taking pics. We had the most fun and amazing pics with him!!! He truly enjoys what he does.
I can’t tell you much about the ruins because it’s something you have to see in person. It is quite a bit of a drive from Mardin, but we ll worth it. The history of it is amazing. There is also a Cistern close by. You must see that as well. If you find Sinan, he will take you all over that area. That’s his specialty. He is on Instigram, you can find him from there if you ever decide to go and need someone. If we didn’t have him, it would have never been the same experience! I am attaching some pics that he took for us. We didn’t have to do anything. Lol
Written June 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Erhan Yildirim
Türkiye2,340 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020
Byzantine(the Eastern Roman Empire)garrison and border city Dara
Dara ancient city-necropolis…(Mardin/Turkey)
In official records, Dara, By the Roman Emperor Anastasius (AD 491-518) in 505-507, A garrison city was established to protect the eastern border of the empire to the Sassanids. The city is known as "Dara-Anastasiopolis" in the name of the founding emperor. There are different opinions about where the city's name comes from. Some sources said that the darius who was defeated in the Issos(İskenderun/Turkey) battle BC 333 between Alexander the Great and Darius III (Achaemenid Empire)died here after the war and the name dara came from here. some sources refer to the 3rd century BC. it is said to have been founded by King Arsaces of Parth in the second half of the century . According to another view, its strategic location, fertile land and rich because of its water resources, it was long before King of Parth 1. Founded by Tiridates (246-211 BC). The city walls are strengthened and raised by Justinian I (527-565 AD). The water cisterns and additional measures are taken against the sasani attacks.. The name of the city was changed to "Justiniana Nova" in AD 530 after a series of restoration works carried out by Emperor Justinian I. Ancient city of Dara ..it includes city walls, inner castle, bastions ,ditches ,defensive structures,cisterns,living areas,necropolis,agora,bridges. In 530 AD, it witnessed the victory of the emperor's generals Belisarius and Sittas over the Sassanids. the Sassanids are forced to flee. in some sources, it is said that the emperor built the small Hagia Sophia church((Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus) .in Istanbul in memory of this victory. Until 640, Dara changed hands several times.between the Sassanids and the Romans .Islamic armies conquer Dara in 640. the most important structures of the city are the necropolis section,agora,cisterns and city walls. 3 bridges were built over the river in the section where the stream, which has dried up today, passes through the middle of the city. a wide and smooth road and agora, about 100 meters long, were built on the edge of the river. there are water distribution systems and cisterns that allow huge water to be distributed and cleared to the city in the direction of the river's entrance. one of the most visited parts of the city, giant cisterns about 35 meters high, which are examples of magnificent Roman architecture today called dungeons, were built. in various sources,it is said that these giant structures were used as cisterns, warehouses or dungeons. the most important and most visited part of Dara is of course the necropolis section, which was built with 3 floors. in the necropolis area, there are sarcophagi and chamber type graves outside the 3-storey section.all structures of the area in general are constructed of limestone.in some sources, it is said that limestones extracted from the deep valley created for the necropolis were used in the construction of castle walls and other buildings. The lowest floor of the necropolis, which was built on 3 floors, contains a large number of human bones. it is said that these bones belong to the people who were killed in the city when the Sassanids took over the city. it is believed that the people living in the city buried the people killed by the Sassanids here, where they believed that the prophet ezekiel would resurrect them, as written in the Old Testament. On 2 floors of the 3-storey structure, there are carved Tomb types in the wall. the last floor is a section where different beliefs and ceremonies are held. soot and fire marks on the ceiling suggest that this place was previously used as an animal shelter and shelter. there is a 15-meter-high tunnel with a diameter of about 5 meters, which opens from the last floor to the Earth.it can be considered that the tunnel is used for two purposes.it can be assumed that people who have been due to an infectious disease since ancient times were lowered down the tunnel with the help of a rope from above and left behind.another reason may be that the smell of harmful and bad gas is thrown out of the place where the dead are buried. the most important part of the necropolis area is the relief figures made at the top of the entrance of the 3-storey building.these figures are the first and only ones in the world. these relief figures describe 2 events in the Old Testament. in the center of the sketches on the left is the prophet ezekiel ,in the lower corner are the bones of the people who will be resurrected,in the upper right and upper left corner are 4 Angels, and in the upper right corner is a hand(the hand of God). in the Old Testament, it is written that in the time of the apocalypse, ezekiel will resurrect people with the permission of God.this event is described in the relief. there are different opinions about the relief on the right side. in this relief, there is a man and perhaps a small baby and a pine tree or cypress tree.one of them describes the incident of the Prophet Moses and the burning bush. other sources say that the relief was virgin Mary and Jesus. the cypress tree is known in mythology as the tree that communicates between 2 worlds and brings good news to the Earth…
Written December 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alper Y
Adana, Türkiye56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019
Any visit to Southeastern part of Turkey without Dara will miss an important piece! A rich culture, local touch and amazing history. Local guides are there to help you with your tour for very low prices. Our guide Sinan did a great job! Have fun.
Written September 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carlos S
Ponta Delgada, Portugal6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2014 • Business
I was really impressed with the caves and the necropolis. It is a magic historical place and it is worth a visit.
Unfortunatelly it is not easy to find native english speaking guides.
Written February 14, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

aguvenis
Istanbul, Türkiye229 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2011
An East Roman Mesopotamian City, Dara was started to be built around 505 AD on the border of Sasanid Empire as a fortress city and lost it's strategic importance around 639 AD following the capture by Arab's .

Currently a small village sits on the ruins, however there are some very impressive structures stayed somewhat intact giving clues about the glory of once important city. There are not many good directions but the small kids in the village are very eager to direct you to the breath taking underground water cistern , agora, the ruins of 60 ft fortress wall and tower , elegant bridge, necropolis area, However we missed to see the arch dam, one of the earliest known of its kind , to stop flooding and still in use told to be alittle bit further from outskirts of scatered the old city .

The modest village is not touristic, very quiet other than cheerful children , no shops but one tiny market to get water. You can browse around yourself but get some information about the city so you can enjoy your visit.

The ruins are 30 km away from Mardin and you may spend about an hour or hour and a half to walk around the village
Written March 6, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Deniz V.
Istanbul, Türkiye47 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015
The most fascinating part of ancient city Dara is absolutely the Roman cistern. It is huge! Necropolis is also well preserved and has to be seen.
Written September 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Heather Y
Derby, UK1,964 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Family
After visiting this area several times, this was my first visit to Dara and I certainly wasn't disappointed. The main area of ruins are breathtaking and very interesting to learn about. There are several signs around the site written in both Turkish and English to you don't have to have a guide (though there were several children around giving talks about Dara's history). As I was with family (live 20km's away), the children left us alone. The history of this place dates back to at least Roman times and it is thought that possibly a long time before (there is a lot of the area unexcavated underneath that which can be seen). There are only a few caves which you can enter and these were a lovely respite from the hot air outside (feel cool like an air conditioned room similar to those at Hasankeyf). After taking in all there was to see here, we drove on back through the village and further up the hillside to see the ruins where water used to run down the hillside. The local tea seller there was telling us that originally the water was traded for oil from Iraq, which was then placed in storage and is now believed to still be buried under some of the current properties metres down. Again, there were lots of children around all wanting to practice their English with my son (who's 7 and loves to talk anyway).

From there we drove further round the village up to another ruin at the top of the hills, which had fantastic views across the village. We also visited the underground prison (from outside only this time as had a very tired little boy after all the walking around the sites in the heat).

Will definitely pay Dara another visit when next in the area.
Written June 9, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Dara Mesopotamia Ruins, Mardin

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