Saturday , August 19 2017
Dara Ruins

Dara Ruins

The ruins are in the village of Oğuz, 30 km to the southeast of Mardin city center. Once one of the most important cities in antique Mesopotamia, the site now hosts a tiny village.

The city was garrisoned by Emperor Anastasius in 506 and was an important link in the chain of defensive outposts along the Euphrates protecting the eastern Byzantine border against the Sassanids. Like Samosata and Zeugma, the city also had a significant civilian community.

With its strong defensive walls, water channels and cistern, bridges, flood dam, church, baptistery, rock tombs, quarries and cave dwellings, Dara was a thriving community. The city began to decline in importance in the Early Middle Ages.

It is also the location of the battle between Alexander the Great and Dara. The antique city was founded by Darayovasi, a Persian Ruler and later changed hands between the Persians and Romans. It was then captured firstly by the Emevid towards the end of the 7th century, by the Abbasid afterwards and by the Turks in the 15th century. Considering that the remains of the city include large cut stones and coins, it is possible to say that the city of Dara used to be a quite rich settlement with its large buildings and treasures.

The remains of the antique city of Dara extends over an area with a diameter of 8-10 km. There are also cave houses in this area. Rock graves to the east of these caves reach Kuruçay as a border.

The core of the city was protected by walls making 4 km in length. There are two gates opening to north and south. The citadel is at the top of a 50 meters high hill to the north of the city. One can still recognize the remains of a church, palace, bazaar, storages, dungeon and a water set.

To the north of the settlement, a fascinating water barrier was constructed by carving rocks that slope down southwards. There is still water running in this canal. Many other cultural properties come to light in the course of time as a result of natural events.

Surrounding the settlement there are 6-7 cave houses which date back to late Roman and early Byzantine times.

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