Midyat (Kurdish: Midyad Syriac: ܡܕܝܕ Mëḏyaḏ, Turoyo: Miḏyoyo, Arabic: مديات) is a town in Mardin Province of Turkey. The ancient city is the center of a centuries-old Hurrian town in Upper Mesopotamia. In its long history, the city of Midyat has been ruled by various different leaders and nations. According to the 1960 population census Midyat was home to 570 Christian households and only 30 Muslim households.
|• Mayor||Veysi Şahin (AKP)|
|• Kaymakam||Fatih Akkaya|
|• District||1,054.25 km2 (407.05 sq mi)|
|Elevation||953 m (3,127 ft)|
|• District density||100/km2 (260/sq mi)|
The history of Midyat can be traced back to the Hurrians during the 3rd millennium. Ninth century BC Assyrian tablets refer to Midyat as Matiate, or city of caves due to the caves at eleth 3 km away from the city where the earliest inhabitants lived. Many different empires had ruled over Midyat including the Mitannians, Assyrians, Arameans, Armenians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Abbasids, Seljuks and Ottomans. Below the town exists an underground city named Matiate, which is assumed to have been in use for about 1900 years and at its peak been inhabited by up to 70'000 people.
On July 16, 1915, during the Armenian and Assyrian Genocides, the German Consul at Mosul, Walter Holstein, alleged in a report to the German Foreign Office that Reşit Bey, the Vali of Diyarbekir, had ordered the recent assassination of the Kaimakam of Midyat, for having, "refused to let the Christians in his district be massacred."
The local village of Azakh was one of the last pockets of widespread resistance in what the Ottoman authorities called the Midyat rebellion, named after the main Christian town in the Tur Abdin region
Midyat, in Diyarbekir vilayet, was the only town in the Ottoman Empire with an Syriac majority, although divided between Syriac Orthodox, Chaldeans, and Protestants. Midyat is an historic centre of the Syriacs in Turkey, and as late as the Syriac/ArameanAssyrian genocide in 1915 they constituted the majority of the city's population. During the early 20th century, the Syriac population of the city started to gradually diminish due to emigration, but the community was still very large. The Syriacs of Tur Abdin were the only significant population of Christians outside of Istanbul, until 1979, when panic ensued over an act war and an exodus of local Christians overtook the city as a result, because a Mayor and major Syriac figure in Turabdin of the city of Kerboran, now named Dargecit, was assassinated and replaced with a Kurdish representative against the peoples will. The Syriacs up until then had control over the local government, and could therefore unify to resist threats. Panic ensued as the local Muslim population made a symbolic declaration of war against the Syriac people and soon after the takeover, local Mhallami and Kurdish inhabitants started immigrating into the traditionally Syriac areas, causing a demographic shift which - along with the start of the Turkey-PKK conflict a few years later in 1984 - sounded a death toll to the community not only here, but in all of Tur Abdin. From a 1975 population of 50,000 comprising 10% of Mardin Province's demographic structure: barely 2,000 were left by the end of the conflict in 1999. Now only around 3-5,000 live in Tur Abdin, with the other 15-17,000 living in Istanbul and other still functioning Syriac Diocese like Adiyaman, Harput, and Diyarbakir.
The churches and houses belonging to the Christians have been preserved although many of them are empty, with their owners living away in Europe. At present 500 Syriac Christians live in Midyat, and they have been joined by 1-300 Syriac refugees fleeing the Syrian Civil War who have settled in the city and region according to different estimates, and comprise 1% of the population of Midyat. There are 5 Churches in the city, and all are Syriac.
|Population of Midyat 1960||Households||Individual Estimate||Individuals|
Midyat is the regional center of commerce for the district, and is one of the largest cities in Mardin Province. Similarly with Mardin, the city is known for its Syriac handicrafts such as carpets, towels and other cloth goods. More specific to the city is its Syriac silver crafts called telkari, which are handcrafted filigreed ornaments. To the east of the city there is a winery that makes traditional Syriac wine: a wine native to the region. Another staple in the Midyat market is its bulgur, which is a cereal food derived from wheat.
Midyat, part of the province of Mardin, has a semi-arid climate with very hot and dry summers and cold, wet, and occasionally snowy winters. Temperatures in summer usually increase to 40 °C - 50 °C (104 °F - 122 °F) due to Mardin being situated right next to the border with Syria. Snowfall is quite common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two. Mardin has over 3000 hours of sun per year. The highest recorded temperature is +48.8 °C.
|Climate data for Mardin, Midyat|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.1
|Average low °C (°F)||0.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||99.8
|Average rainy days||10.6||10.6||10.7||9.9||6.6||1.7||0.5||0.2||0.7||5.3||7.4||10.2||74.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||139.5||142.8||189.1||222||310||375||396.8||368.9||315||238.7||174||136.4||3,008.2|
|Source: Devlet Meteoroloji İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü |
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