James and I visited the town of Mardin in June for the first time in our lives.  It is in southeast of Turkey and located on top of a hill and is often considered an open-air museum because of its historical architecture, most of which uses the beige colored limestone rock that has been mined in the area for centuries.  Mardin is a very old city (more than 7000 years old) and we can see and feel this as we walk around the streets of old city.  Even the hotel we stayed was a 1000 years old building and it had stone carving signs from all three major religions on its walls (Judiasm, Christianity, Islam).  Of course, it was not a very old building comparing the other ones in the city! 

Syria is very close to Mardin: in less than an hour drive you can be at the border.  We drove near the border and saw the barbed wires and we are told that there are mine fields!  Neither of us has been near a mine field before, so it was a little scary…

We tried to see the old town on foot, but it was not so easy because it was very hot when we were there (Mardin’s summers are very hot and dry:  around 120°F).  We, of course, were interested in metalwork in that area because we heard that Mardin is famous for filigree and metalspinning.  We were disappointed by the filigree because most of the master artisans, who are Assyrians, have left the town, so there was not much to see.  However, in the old bazaar we found some coppersmiths and spinners.  In future posts, I will share more about the history and the culture of the area.

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Thank you for sharing this report and the images. A look into a world we hardly ever get to see. I appreciate it so much!!

I assume these plates are used for food? What material is it?

BTW: I am a teensy bit worried about this metal spinner not wearing a dust mask and eye protection... that lathe is spinning mighty fast....

The plate was aluminum and used for decoration only.  He told us that he normally wears all kinds of protection, but while doing a demo for us he didn't use mask because he was constantly talking :)

More! More!

Thanks for sharing this.

Here's the link to the YouTube video of the metalspinner: You Tube Mardin spinner

 

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