Mardin Turkey
Up Mardin Photos Erbil Iraq 2012

Postcards from:


Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Istanbul Turkey
Cappadocia Turkey
Urfa Turkey

Mardin Turkey

Erbil Iraq
  Erbil photos
Fethiye Turkey
  Fethiye photos

Aydin Turkey

  Aydin photos
Istanbul Turkey

After Kurdistan trip
Las Vegas, Nevada USA


Place holder for more photos.
Map of Turkey: click on map for scalable version.

Mardin- This is the obscure entrance to the truly deluxe $55 Hotel Reyhani Kasri where I stayed most of my time in the city. You can see why I nearly failed to recognize it as a hotel the first time I passed it! Of course, if I'd looked up, I would have seen the sign.

Mardin- Iconic view of the hillside from below the Reyhani Hotel shows how densely the old city has been packed with dwellings. On a sunny day this scene looks golden.

Mardin- The hillside above the Reyhani Hotel is covered with ancient stone houses connected by a labyrinth of stone walkways some of which are steep flights of stairs shown here.

Mardin- The hillside above the Reyhani Hotel is covered with ancient stone houses connected by stone work passages like this one.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani assistant manager, Sadi who tried to make my extended stay in his hotel enjoyable. With multiple Internet/WiFi issues and frequent power outages he had his hands full.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani breakfast buffet; cereals, fried eggplant, fried peppers and dried fruits this particular morning. The selection and quality varied during my weeklong stay.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani breakfast buffet; fresh fruits and jams were included early in my weeklong stay at the Reyhani Hotel breakfast buffets, but degraded significantly toward the end with fewer guests in the house.

Mardin- Some of the narrow alleyways have seen new construction convert them into tunnels like this one.

Mardin- This is Fethullah Ertas whom I met on the bus from Urfa. He shared his current knowledge of cross border transportation logistics for my planned trip into northern Iraq. He is Kurdish and speaks Arabic, Kurdish, English and Russian in his professional role as  customs broker and global logistics manager.

Mardin- This is the last of the old stone houses on the steep hillside below the Reyhani Hotel where I found this lonely chicken standing guard.

Mardin- Having seen this donkey and rider approaching the main street from a side alley I backed off and readied my camera, snapping this picture before the rider noticed me and waved me away. I love the expression on his face.

Mardin- Once the camera shy donkey rider passed out of sight I snapped this photo of the street activity.

Mardin- Sculpture of Ataturk dominates the plaza in front of the Mardin Museum.

Mardin- Bas relief with information about the sculpture of Ataturk on the pedestal above.

Mardin- Another section of the bas relief with information about the sculpture of Ataturk on the pedestal above.

Mardin- Narrow walkways like this one interconnect the wider alleyways and the main street running through this business area near the hotel in the old city.

Mardin- People get on with their lives along this main alleyway that parallels the main street below where the Reyhani Hotel is located.

Mardin- Installation or repair of the sewer system within the ancient residential area require tearing up flights of stairs like here.

Mardin- Narrow walkways like this one connect the principle alleyways that run parallel across the face of the hillside. This one provides access to the main road through the old town business district.

Mardin- The Arabic sign over the door seems to identify something of historical significance, so I grabbed a photo.

Mardin- Sign on the wall in front of the entrance to the Mardin Museum.

Mardin- Sign on the wall in front of the entrance to the Mardin Museum. Guess what day I tried to visit!

Mardin- Stone mason repairs cobbles along the sides of the street past the hotel while helpers look on.

Mardin- Many extensive walls incorporate blocks set at a forty-five degree angle for this effect.

Mardin- Many people still cook with charcoal, though I see a lot of LPG bottles as well.

Mardin- This is the entrance to the Mardin Museum.

Mardin- Art hanging in the top floor dining room at the Reyhani Hotel.  The small "spots" covering areas of the art work are actually tiny polished stones.

Mardin- Art hanging in the top floor dining room at the Reyhani Hotel. The small "spots" covering areas of the art work are actually tiny polished stones.
Mardin- view of the top floor dining room at the Reyhani Hotel.

Mardin- More art hanging in the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Mardin- This is Serkan Karakozu, the friendly front desk manager at the Hilton Garden Inn who shared some of his knowledge of this region and surprised me with a plate of fresh fruit delivered to my room during my second stay in the hotel.

Mardin- This is the breakfast buffet fresh bread station at the Hilton Garden Inn; much to my delight I always found a basket of simits, that donut shaped specialty of Turkey.

Mardin- This is the breakfast buffet olives & cheeses station at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Mardin- Entrance to the Otel Artuklu Kervansaria with a minaret in the background.

Mardin - Decorations in the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Mardin - One of the flights of stairs connecting the narrow streets running parallel across the steep hill on which the old city is built.

Mardin - Dining room set up for the New Years Eve party at the Hilton Garden Inn.



16 December 2012 

Greetings from Mardin,

This interesting city some twenty miles north of the troubled Syrian border is not even on many maps of Turkey, but here I am. Mardin is an ancient city located on the southern slope of a high hill overlooking the Mesopotamian Plain so rich in historical significance. It has been ruled by all of the familiar great empires of this region: the Hurri-Mitani, Hittites, Surs, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Arabs and the Seljuk Turks. Today it includes the modern "new city" which is quite separate from the sections of interest to tourists. I am here as a convenient jumping off place for a shorter bus ride into northern Iraq.

While still in Urfa I visited the "otogar" (bus station) and checked with bus company agents using an English-Turkish translator application installed on my Samsung Galaxy Note "telephone." It worked great, both speaking my questions about schedules in the translated Turkish and displaying the written version. Except for the time delay and the fact their responses needed to be mostly "yes" or "no" our conversations were no different than if we had both actually been speaking the same language, at least from my perspective!

After more than  two weeks holed up in great value hotels in Urfa I finally hopped a bus east to Mardin which will be the city from which I'll catch the final bus to Erbil Iraq. Getting information about traveling from Turkey to Erbil has been confusing. The Internet is full of travel reports containing inaccurate out of date information about transport logistics and first person travelogues are peppered with scary reports of daunting experiences like this one. I'm  sure people have had such nightmares in the past, but after lots of research it is now clear there are bus services point to point that will get me into Erbil Iraq without a lot of hassles involving multiple taxis. A visit to the local office of the Dilmenler bus company here in Mardin confirmed what I had been told by their agents in Urfa, though I have not been able to find their schedule information on the Internet (in English). This first person travelogue details one successful recent experience using a bus, but there are few such stories making me wonder why. Wider knowledge of a cheap, easy bus option would doom the monopoly taxis have on Iraqi border crossings from Turkey, but it is hard to see how that could have any influence on what other travelers have shared on the Internet.

As usual I bought two seats on the bus for Mardin and once settled in my space on the bus a gentleman approached me waving a ticket with one of my seat numbers. Confused, I remained seated while displaying my own two tickets. Finally the conductor appeared and started shuffling other passengers around to different seats, but pretty much ignored me personally. Apparently the bus company had deliberately oversold the available seats knowing several passengers would be getting off at locations less than a half hour down the road freeing up the needed extra seats.

The bus from Urfa took three hours to reach the outskirts of Mardin and suddenly stopped along a wide boulevard lined with a half dozen bus company agent offices, but nothing resembling a bus station. One of the other passengers spoke English and inquired of the driver how I could catch another bus going to Erbil and learned I'd have to show up at this same place at about 5AM any morning for my ride... which is only one of many options it turns out!

Dislodged from the bus nowhere near anything that looked like a hotel I started my hike of discovery waving off suggestions I should hop on one of the passing city buses. Who me ride into a new city? Not on your life as long as I still have two good feet and working leg muscles... that before realizing the onward street toward increased civilization immediately slopped upward at an intimidating angle which made my climbing muscles beg for relief. Questioning several people during my brief, ill fated hike I soon learned the hotels would be found somewhere further along that street climbing into the clouds.

But, there were frequent buses doing their "I think I can; I think I can." struggle, so I and my bulky rucksack climbed aboard one of them and sat back waiting for a marvelous cluster of cheap five star hotels to come into view. Other passengers apparently understanding my dilemma offered suggestions... I think as only Turkish is spoken by anyone here, but none of their jabbering or pointing led my eyes to anything that looked like a modern hotel. The combined excitement of my advisory committee reached a particularly high pitch as we entered a charming narrow shop lined section of the road carved into the side of the mountain
running through the old city. The area reminds me very much of the stair step layout of Assisi Italy, home of Saint Francis. All the commotion and instinct prompted me to struggle out of the bus and resume my foot work for a more leisurely exploration.

The first hotel that looked promising turned out to be the Artuklu Kervansarayi which I remembered reading about in one of the many travelogues I'd studied. An ancient building once used as an overnight stop for camel caravans had been refurbished as a modern lodge. Still retaining much of the ambiance of the original use, the rooms are rustic, but now with modern amenities added. The 80TL ($44) room rate seemed low for what they offered. But, I rarely take the first place I see as the whole purpose of shopping is to accumulate several possibilities for value comparisons. The next place I stumbled on a bit off the main street looked very nice from the outside, even ultra-deluxe... but also unfinished! The guy doing reception for th
e Otel Dara Konagi seemed overly eager to show me around the still under construction multilevel opulent complex, urging me to inspect every feature of his soon to be ready hotel "in only seven days!" and "very reasonable: only 120TL." As soon as it seemed polite I extricated myself from his persistent sales pitch and trudged back up to this mostly flat stretch crowded with shops on both sides of the cobble stone street. The area is so picturesque I momentarily forgot my hotel shopping mission.

But Saint Serendipity nudged me back to reality and into an inconspicuous marble alcove with a double glass door entryway I had almost missed. As I paused to confirm the place actually was a hotel, a young man in a white shirt and tie sporting a name tag opened the door and urged me to come in. I really needed little prompting as the marble floors and tasteful modern decor screamed quality... and probably extravagantly lavish room rates. Looks alone rarely scare me any more as not infrequently deluxe hotel properties end up offering me what I consider bargain rates. So, I stepped in and lingered while taking a better look at the layout and assessing this receptionist's command of English... if any!

This guy's well rehearsed replies to my easily anticipated questions convinced me he had more than a rudimentary ability with the English language and we chatted a bit about the things that matter in choosing a place to stay. Walking up the half flight of stairs to the reception counter everything shouted "expensive!" O.K. Get ready for some sticker shock I thought.

"What rate? How long will you stay?" By now I know this will always be an opening gambit during rate negotiations. Put off the bad news until you can get some concessions out of a prospective guest.

"Well, I really don't know as I am traveling without a schedule for five to eight months, on my way into northern Iraq and the weather forecast predicts rain for many days. I can tell you I planned to stay only a few nights back in Urfa and ended up staying nineteen nights." Looking around the lobby area and down one of the hallways I could not imagine much room for disappointments and added: "A few nights and if I like it probably much longer."

"Let me show you what we have." he offered... another ploy to suck the wary traveler deeper into the web before springing the trap and revealing the bad news.

No fool this one I coyly wondered aloud what price range I might expect. "Let me show you what we have right now for one hundred and fifty, though we might have another room for eighty, if you prefer."

"That's 150 dollars?" I gasped.

"Oh, no; 150 lira." he replied nonchalantly.  Well, a hundred and fifty lira converts to about $83, toward the top of my comfort range, but certainly doable considering all the money I'd saved on cheap hotels in Urfa. My practiced reaction surely gave the impression a hundred and fifty would be pushing it and he responded without being prompted: "Let me show you a deluxe room that is vacant right now. I'll have to check with my manager, but I think we can let you have it for a hundred, if you will be staying for a longer period with us."

Overwhelmed is a word I rarely use for my reactions to first impressions of hotel rooms, but this room clearly had that impact. With difficulty I concealed my joy at finding such an exceptional value and allowed my guide to  show me other options; some more expensive, some less. In addition to being recently constructed with particularly high quality tasteful furnishings including an extraordinarily comfortable bed and expensive fixtures, someone has spent a lot of time on attention to details. Everything is where I'd expect it to be and almost everything works perfectly! I have never enjoyed a more deluxe hotel room: it even has TWO large TV screens and in room tea/coffee service replenished daily. After a discussion with the general manager we agreed I'd take the hundred lira room and stay at least three nights.

After the first night in the magnificent Reyhani Kasri Hotel I eagerly anticipated the breakfast buffet experience the following morning. The top floor dining room with its outdoors balcony offers great views of the Mesopotamian plains stretching off toward Syria to the south. Everything in the dining room appears new and the dishes of various foods are attractively arranged with quality selections guaranteed to please the most demanding Turkish travelers: many kinds of olives, many kinds of cheeses plus the obligatory cucumbers and tomatoes.

By now I should be accustomed to the normal breakfast selections to be included even in up scale hotels like this one. Only the Hotel El-Ruha in Urfa exceeded my expectations, but none of the others has come even close. If you want eggs, they will be hard boiled. If you want meat, it will be slices of baloney.  Coffee? Drink your Nescafe powdered coffee and be quiet.

Starting the second morning a tray of thin fried eggs showed up, but soon got cold as no one ever turned on the steam table. Cereals and dried fruits are commonly available and most mornings dried figs joined the apricots among the possibilities. So much for breakfast, adequate with beautiful presentation and service, but not overwhelmingly satisfying like everything else in this remarkable property. The quality and selection varied during my seven mornings: sometimes quite good, sometimes mediocre. The coffee never varied from the powdered variety, though the tea, the national drink of Turkey did pass my taste test.

During the several rainy mornings water leaked under the glass doors into the dining area keeping the staff busy with squeegees. But even with dedicated attention to the water problem the floors stayed wet and at least one hapless guest slipped and fell on the slick floor as I jumped up to render unneeded assistance.

Meanwhile, as I agonized over powdered coffee and cold eggs, Ravi Shankar and his ethereally beautiful sitar music became a lingering memory with his passing, North Korea launched an earth satellite in defiance of world condemnations and the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria approached its final days. Sometimes it is impossible to keep it all in perspective.

Mardin's outstanding public bus system connects much of both the old and new city destinations and the drivers are remarkably dexterous. Astonished, I watched one guy juggling change making, handling accounting tasks with bundles of bills, conducting cell phone conversations, calling out requested destinations, answering passenger questions and maneuvering his wide bus through streets crowded with double parked cars and dare devil pedestrians dashing into oncoming traffic indiscriminately. Slight variations in routes for the red, blue, white and yellow placard buses insure that every popular destination is served every few minutes. I don't think I ever waited more than five minutes for a bus or paid more than 69 cents for a ride.

During the first week here it rained nearly everyday and all day on three of them forcing me to sequester myself in fortunately comfortable accommodations. At one point the temperature dropped to freezing and I discovered all of my planned layers of clothing still left me chilled. So, I took my own advice and went shopping. In the "best clothing store" in Mardin called "YKM" and pronounced "YeCamMay" I found a black wool crew neck sweater for $28 and gratefully slipped into its warmth. To my surprise, the clerk handed me a special promotional coupon for a free pastry in the store's adjoining "coffee" shop, so I had lunch consisting of soup and a large slice of gooey cake. Right after I bought the sweater the weather turned warmer of course.

The Reyhani Hotel is located in the middle of the old city, so is delightfully picturesque. When the sun shines... which it hasn't done much since I got here... all the old buildings covering the side of the mountain glow gold from the yellowed stone used for construction. On cloudy days the effect is drab like everywhere else, but still charming. I love wandering among the Labyrinth of little alleyways and narrow walkways threading among the old buildings.

Rich in historical color, one could spend days roaming around the old city with guide book in hand learning about the thousands of years of cultural changes which have taken place in and around Mardin. During the planning phase of my preparation for this visit I stumbled on an unlimited number of authoritative information sources. Daunted I imagined the impossible task students here face as they try to acquire some perspective on their country's historical heritage. America's two hundred years story seems puny compared to the challenge faced by students in Turkey. In fact, it seems to me an impossible task to do much more than scratch the surface of a hundred times more records than we have accumulated in America's short history.

No one should visit Turkey without nibbling on a simit purchased from one of the numerous little bakeries around any town in the country. Slightly sweet with the delicious flavor of sesame seeds and shaped like a skinny oversized donut, they are a perfect afternoon snack... and I might add the de-facto iconic symbol of Turkey as far as I am concerned! While I tended to return to the same restaurants for basic food needs, one afternoon I ventured into an obscure place four doors east of the Reyhani Hotel. The Erdoba Evleri is both a restaurant and boutique hotel, though neither is obvious from the outside. Built inside a renovated hundreds of years old stone building I felt like I had entered an austere monastery or castle dungeon, dark cold stone walls with little visible furniture.

As I hesitated, the manager encouraged me to follow him to the "dining room" down three steep flights of stairs dimly lit. Curiosity overcame my trepidation and I thought "What the heck, this is an adventure, right?" Reaching the bottom level finally, I could see the pleasing results of the modern restorations and when entering the actual tastefully appointed "dining room" I marveled how the old features of the original building were retained and integrated with modern deluxe furnishings. At a table set for a king I settled in to study the menu. The waiter explained several items I indicated using perfect English and helped me choose a light lunch of tomato soup and Turkish "pizza."

The soup, heavy with floating soft cheeses and a big basket of breads would have been an adequate lunch for me, but then came the most unusual "pizza" I have ever devoured: puffy like a small football with a light layer of spicy minced meat inside. The whole charred balloon-like contraption collapsed when I stabbed it with a fork. Unusual in appearance, this delicious dish gave new meaning to my idea of what a pizza should be. Halfway through my meal a group of thirty or so college students bolted in noisily, all obviously in good spirits for some sort of celebration, suggesting to me this "obscure" restaurant enjoyed an earned reputation as the place to be on important occasions.

The Shutterfly slide show of photographs taken while in Mardin are here.

In a few hours I board a giant Marses Turizm bus for the eleven hour trip to Erbil Iraq. As usual I bought two tickets to be sure I'll have plenty of room to squirm during the long trip. The total of $100 makes it a rather expensive bus ride compared to others here in Turkey, but this is an international excursion. Several other bus companies claim to make the run, but only Marses Turizm actually advertises the service on a sign at their office, incidentally charging 10TL per ticket more than their competitors. As my bus leaves from a location down in the newer part of the city, I moved over to the Hilton Garden Inn for the last few nights. Amazingly, the rate here is still only $65 and it is a four star deluxe property... though located almost a mile from the shopping areas... rather remote. In good weather I wouldn't complain about the distance, but with rain almost everyday, walking can be problematic. One big plus is that "everyone" speaks understandable English! Another is a breakfast buffet designed to ensure Western guests will be thrilled... with real brewed coffee and properly prepared eggs! Gads, how spoiled I have become in my old age. What ever happened to that youthful spirit of wild abandon?

Surprisingly, unlike in China and most other parts of the world I've visited, there is very little Christmas music for this time of year. On the other hand, five times a day the warbling Muslim crooners yell from their towers reminding everyone to remember to pray... starting at 5AM! Lucky for me a minaret stands not more than fifty feet from my Reyhani Hotel window so I have had no need of an alarm clock to awaken in the morning. It occurs to me that people in this part of the world must have been genetically endowed with very poor memories to need reminding five times a day their "god is great!" You would think something that important could not be easily forgotten and require so many daily reminders!

I've mentioned before my concern that "enlightened self interest" alone should be propelling the Power Elite toward the redistribution of wealth throughout the world. It is not only the poor who suffer more as the gap between the wealthiest and poorest segments of our societies widens; every segment suffers! Revisiting the 2011 TedTalk by Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies, makes it clear the political goals being pursued by President Barack Obama are needed to start that redistribution process. Naturally, most of the wealthy can be expected to resent and resist, but a gradual movement toward a more equitable distribution of wealth is "for their own good" and is bound to be less painful than a violent revolution of the "proletariat." I use that term deliberately because I've noticed the ideas of Karl Marx getting more attention from the financial community lately. The failure of political Communism in the last century obscured the sensible aspects of his socio-financial ideas. I am now motivated to finish reading Das Kapital (I have a copy on my netbook to read as time permits). During my young adulthood Communism verses Capitalism could hardly receive a reasoned examination for all the screamers, even among the reasoning educated segments of American society. Never mind that this small segment has always been vastly out numbered by the majority who already "know it all" without bothering to examine the evidence, relying instead on noisy pundits . An excellent examination of the problem appeared in a book by Esquire columnist Charles P. Pierce entitled: "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free" If you are not worried about the state of our union now, consider the evidence he presents, nicely summarized in this foreword to his book.

I've noticed the Shutterfly slide show crops many of the photographs badly; my web pages do not. Now it is back to answering old email and working on preparations for Erbil. More when the floods abate.



Fred L Bellomy


Mardin- This is that first city bus I took on arrival doing its "I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can" thing up the steep hill leading out of the new city area and into the old city.

Mardin- This is the obscure entrance to the truly deluxe $55 Hotel Reyhani Kasri where I stayed a week while in the city. The first time I passed it I nearly failed to recognize it as a hotel!

Mardin - Art hanging on lobby wall at Reyhani Hotel.

Mardin - Wall in the lobby of the Reyhani Hotel shows a use of unusual bumpy textured surface marble; striking and effective.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani breakfast buffet; fried eggs & salami; a Turkish specialty though not a gourmet treat. While usually cold,  they are still a nice change from the hard boiled eggs I'd been getting for breakfast in Turkey.

Mardin- Iconic view of the hillside looking up from below the Reyhani Hotel is the old city and on a sunny day it looks golden.

Mardin- Old stone houses like these line a warren of narrow streets up and down the hillside.

Mardin- Pedestrians navigate the narrow and sometimes nonexistent sidewalks that run along the street by the hotel; here both bipeds and quadrupeds.

Mardin- Oops. A firewood delivery blocks the only street running past the Reyhani Hotel forcing the bus to detour up onto the sidewalk.

Mardin- Two boys hurry to remove firewood blocking the only street going past the Reyhani Hotel .

Mardin- Otel Dara Konagi is still under construction, but the eager receptionist insisted on showing me around during my hotel shopping spree before settling on the Reyhani. As I departed he noted rates would be about 120 lira per night.

Mardin- Stone mason repairs cobbles along the sides of the street in front of the Reyhani Hotel.

Mardin- The entire hillside below the Reyhani Hotel is covered with old stone houses interconnected by a labyrinth of alleyways, many so narrow only donkeys can pass with cargo.

Mardin- Pedestrians navigate the sometimes nonexistent sidewalks near the hotel by moving out into the street, especially when their donkey is carrying a heavy LPG tank.

Mardin- Entrance to the Otel Artuklu Kervansaria where I first stopped during my initial hotel shopping effort.

Mardin- This is the Munir Usta Restaurant where I enjoyed lunch one day.









Place holder for more photos.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani receptionist Duva and assistant manager, Sadi who made me feel welcome the moment I checked into the hotel. Duva, who spoke no more English than I spoke Turkish still managed to demonstrate her naturally kind nature.

Mardin Province Turkey on the border with Syria and just west of the Iraqi border where I'm heading.

Mardin- That is me enjoying a freshly baked Simit purchased for about thirty cents from a small shop in the old city. Cheap, easy to hold and slightly sweet with the pleasant taste of sesame seeds make this one of my favorite Turkish treats and an indelible memory!

Mardin- The hillside above the Reyhani Hotel is covered with ancient stone houses connected by a labyrinth of stone walkways like this one.

Mardin- The labyrinth of stone walkways encorporate switchbacks like this one.

Mardin- Close-up of a freshly baked Simit eagerly being devoured by a hungry explorer.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani breakfast buffet; real Turkish tea, but disappointing Kool-aid and instant coffee for Westerners.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani breakfast buffet; lots of olives and lots of cheeses plus tomatoes and cucumbers: guaranteed to be on every Turkish breakfast buffet. Notice the pleasing presentation.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani breakfast buffet; lots of olives and lots of cheeses plus tomatoes and cucumbers... and halvah there in the back! Yum...

Mardin- Hotel Reyhani amenity set; I've never seen a more complete collection in any hotel: good quality, too. Notice the full size bars of soap!

Mardin- Hotel Reyhani tea and coffee set replenished everyday in the room.

Mardin - Hotel Reyhani general manager, Mehmet Ali Divrik with whom I negotiated a manageable room rate for my long stay.

Mardin- Final resting place for people of this old city. Small cemeteries may be found tucked in among residential areas throughout the old city.

Mardin- The entire hillside below the Reyhani Hotel is covered with old stone houses clinging to the steep hillside like these.

Mardin- The entire hillside below the Reyhani Hotel is covered with old stone houses interconnected by a labyrinth of alleyways which have names like this one.

Mardin- Today is trash day for all the old stone houses on the steep hillside below the Reyhani Hotel where I stayed.

Mardin- This is the last of the old stone houses on the steep hillside below the Reyhani Hotel as I explored all the way down to the open fields.

Mardin- The hillside above the Reyhani Hotel is covered with stone walkways and interconnecting flights of stairs. Today everything is still wet from all the rain.

Mardin- As I explored the hillside above the Reyhani Hotel a group of three sisters tagged alone with this littlest one pestering me for money.

Mardin- Looking down on the old city below the Reyhani Hotel. One day I hiked to the very bottom of the cluster of old stone buildings now contemporary residences.

Mardin- Looking back to the West from the balcony outside the breakfast dining room on the top floor of the hotel.

Mardin- Turkish tobacco in the bulk on sale all over town including in a shop a block down the street from the Reyhani Hotel.

Mardin- One of the doorways into a stone building. I noticed the similarity with the peculiar shaped columns at Gobekli Tepe. Wonder if there could be any connection?

Mardin- Narrow alleyways like this one wind their way among the ancient stone buildings stacked on the hillside above and below the hotel where I stayed.

Mardin- Narrow alleyways like this one wind their way among the ancient stone buildings stacked on the hillside. This one provides access to the main road through the old town business district.

Mardin- This fellow leading his two heavily loaded donkeys paused before heading down this narrow passage and indicated he wanted me to take his picture. That one didn't turn out well, but this one reminds me to tell the tale.

Mardin- This seems to be an archeological dig next to the museum entrance.

Mardin- This seems to be an archeological dig next to the museum entrance. My guess is every place in Turkey is a potential site of historical interest.

Mardin- Another view of that portion of the old city as seen from below the Reyhani Hotel.

Mardin- This sign reminds me the museum is just around the corner... but, today is Monday and the place is closed!

Mardin- Art hanging in the top floor dining room at the Reyhani Hotel.  The small "spots" covering areas of the art work are actually tiny polished stones.

Mardin- Art hanging in the top floor dining room at the Reyhani Hotel. The small "spots" covering areas of the art work are actually tiny polished stones.

Mardin- The purple and yellow color schemes used here reminded me of Konya, also very colorful.

Mardin- Art hanging in the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Mardin- This is Suleyman Surmen, the genial F&B manager at the Hilton Garden Inn who proudly showed me his display of fresh fish flown in for a sea food feast this evening... and every Friday.

Mardin- This is the breakfast buffet hot casseroles station at the Hilton Garden Inn with a view of the kitchen in the background.

Mardin- This is the breakfast buffet real coffee station at the Hilton Garden Inn

Mardin- This is the breakfast buffet yogurt and fresh fruits station at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Mardin- This is the breakfast buffet sticky stuff for bread toppings.

Mardin- Entrance to the Hilton Garden Inn with the exterior lighting turned on.

Mardin - Christmas tree in the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Mardin - Wall in the lobby of the Reyhani Hotel shows a use of polished marble and bumpy sculptured textured surface marble; unusual and effective.

Reference photo: author
 August 2002

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