MARDİN
Never Too Far

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One of the things I am grateful for the pandemic is that it gives me the awareness to discover my own country. When I thought of "traveling" before, I dreamed of the lands far away. This time, with the Covid restrictions, I realize that I barely traveled inside my country, and this would be the "chance" to start. 

 

Turkey is a big country full of different geographical features, cultures, ethnicities and religions. I always know this fact but never experienced that intense in my previous trips. Located on the top of a rocky hill overlooking the plains of Mesopotamia, Mardin gave me 'that' feeling that a trip can give as much as possible. It felt so strange, but so familiar at the same time. It felt so far, but so close too. I found myself drinking bitter Kurdish coffee everyday at a traditional coffee house run by an old man in the center of Mardin. I was excited to listen to his stories while looking at the old pictures of him. Everything was new to me -the tastes, the smells, the words and the faces. 

 

Hitting the roads to reach small villages where Syriac people live gave me a new breath to explore more. I was welcomed by people that I newly met, with delicious offerings that I never tasted before and stories that I was eager to hear. Syriac people have been living on these lands for thousands of years, and their culture too. In these desolate villages, mostly older people are living because the young ones have already left. They confronted many restrictions and political oppressions during the 80's, so this was the main reason for someone to leave their hometown. However, those who are left behind are happy to be here, to plant their vineyards and to breathe the air of these lands where they were born. And there is always a hope inside them to believe if those who left will come back again. 

 

I was taken in by the simple way of these people living around Mardin. I knew this by the end of my trip; I don't need to go far. There are still unopened doors in our world that we think we already know, to learn new things, to hear new stories, and to expand vision.