Mardin is one of the oldest settled areas in upper Mesopotamia. Excavations done in the 1920s discovered remains in the area that dated to 4000 BCE. The first known civilization were the Subarians who were then succeeded in 3000BCE by the Hurrians. The Elamites gained control around 2230 BCE. and were followed by the Babylonians, Hittites, Assyrians, Romans and Byzantines.
In 692, the Muslim Ummayads arrived and introduced Islam. The Abbasid Caliphate based in Baghdad replaced them in 824. Factions of the Seljuk Turks fought each other over Mardin as it changed hands many times before it was finally taken by Nahm ad-din Ilghazi, the bey of the Artukids, a Turkish dynasty founded by the Seljuk Emir Artuk. During the Artukid period, many of Mardin's historic buildings were constructed, including several Mosques, Palaces, Madrassas and Hans.
The lands of the Artukid dynasty fell to the Mongols sometime between 1235 and 1243, but the Mongols never directly governed the area. The Artukid family ruling Mardin became vassal state of the Mongol Empire. During the battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, the Artuqid ruler revolted against the Mongol rule. Hulegu's general and Chupan's ancestor, Koke-Ilge of the Jalayir, stormed the city and Hulegu appointed the rebel's son, al-Nasir, governor of Mardin. Although, Hulegu suspected the latter's loyalty for a while, thereafter the Artukids remained loyal unlike nomadic Bedoun and Kurd tribes in the south western frontier. The Mongol Ilkhanids considered them important allies. For this loyalty they shown, Artukids were given more lands in 1298 and 1304. Mardin later passed to the Akkoyunlu, a federation of Turkic tribes that controlled territory all the way to the Caspian Sea. In 1517, Mardin was annexed by the Ottomans under Selim the Grim. During this time, Mardin was administered by a governor directly appointed under the Ottoman Sultan's authority. In 1923, with the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Mardin was made the administrative capital of a province named after it.
The Great Mosque of Mardin
Mardin has often considered an open air museum due to its historical architecture, most of which uses the beige colored limestone rock which has been mined for centuries in quarries around the area.
Great Mosque (Ulu Camii) - Constructed in the 12th century by the ruler of the Artukid Turks, Qutb ad-din Ilghazi. It has a ribbed dome and a minaret that soars above the city. There were originally two minarets, but one collapsed many centuries ago.
Melik Mahmut Mosque - built in the 14th century and contains the tomb of its patron Melik Mahmut. It is known for its large gate which features elaborate stonework.
Abdüllatif Mosque (Latfiye Mosque) - built in 1371 by the Artukid ruler Abdüllatif. Its minaret was destroyed by Tamerlane's army and rebuilt many centuries later in 1845 by the Ottoman Governor Gürcü Mehmet Pasha.
Şehidiye Medresse and Mosque - built in the 1214 by Artuk Aslan. It has an elborate ribbed minaret and an adjoining Madrassa
Necmettin Gazi Mosque
Kasım Tuğmaner Mosque
Reyhaniye Mosque - The second largest mosque in Mardin after Ulu Camii. Built in the 15th century, it has a large courtyard and open hallway featuring a fountain.
Hamidiye Mosque (Zebuni Mosque) - built before the 15th century, it is named after its patron Şeyh Hamit Effendi.
Secaattin and Mehmet Mosque
Hamza-i Kebir Mosque
Şeyh Abdülaziz Mosque
Melik Eminettin el-Emin Mosque
Sıtra Zaviye Mosque
Şeyh Salih Mosque
Mahmut Türki Mosque
Şeyh Çabuk Mosque - built in the 14th century and contains the tomb of its patron Şeyh Çabuk
Nizamettin Begaz Mosque
Zinciriye Medrese (Sultan Isa Medrese) - Constructed in 1385 by Najm ad-din Isa. The madrasa is part of a complez that includes a Mosque and the tomb of Najm ad-din Isa.
Sitti Radviyye Medrese (Hatuniye Medrese) - built in the 12th century in the honor of Sitti Radviyye, the wife of Najm ad-din Alpi. There is a footprint that is claimed to be that to be that of the Prophet Muhammad.
Kasımiye Medrese - construction started by the Artukids and completed by the Akkoyunlu under Sultan Kasım. It has an adjoining Mosque and a Dervish lodge.
Monastery of Deyrul Zafran
Meryemana (Virgin Mary) Church
Mor Yusuf (Surp Hovsep) Church
Mor Behnam (Kırk Şehitler) Church - built in the name of Behnam and Saro, the two sons of an Aramean (Syriac) rule, dates from 569 AD
Deyrü'z-Zafaran Monastery - The Syriac Orthodox Saffron Monastery was founded in 439 AD and is one of the oldest monasteries in the world and the only one that is still functioning in southern Turkey. From 1160 until 1932, it was the seat of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, until the Patriarchate relocated to the Syrian capital Damascus. The site of the monastery itself is said to have been used as a temple by sun worshipers as long ago as 2000 BC.
Mor Mihail Church
Mor Semune Church
Mor Petrus and Pavlus Church
Red (Surp Kevork) Church
Mor Cercis Church
Mor Efraim Monastery