Mesopotamian city finds new life as tourist hub

One of the most important trade centers of ancient Mesopotamia, the ancient city of Dara in southeastern Turkey, is poised for new greatness as a hub for visitors seeking historical splendor.

Excavations and research have been carried out for 34 years in Dara, in Oğuz village, Mardin, some 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the provincial center.


The ruins of the ancient city of Dara, featuring ancient rock tombs dating back to the fifth century A.D., have been compared to the famed city of Ephesus in Aegean Turkey, earning it the nickname the Ephesus of Mesopotamia, the breadbasket of the ancient Near East.

The city, an important settlement along the famed Silk Road which also saw great wars, for years served as the last stronghold of the Byzantine Empire in Southeastern Anatolia, offering unique opportunities to those who want to go on a historical journey.

The necropolis (city of the dead), where religious ceremonies were held during the Roman era and hundreds of people were buried together, is one of the most popular spots in the ancient city.

"Our purpose here is to fully reveal the tourism potential of Dara, one of the most important city walls in the world," Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said while visiting the ancient ruins.


In this context, the government provided support of 4 million Turkish Liras (nearly half a million dollars) through the Attraction Centers Support Program, as carried out by the Mardin Museum Directorate.

"Each region has different richnesses within itself. Some of our regions are distinguished by their industry, some by their agricultural capacity and others by their tourism," he added.

So it is necessary to develop policies compatible with...

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