Journey to the Mountain of Worshipers in Southern Turkey

The dwelling of an Assyrian in the village of Arkah, created to resemble an Assyrian palace from the ancient period. ( Athra Kado)

ALQOSH — In November, I traveled to the stunning Assyrian villages located in TurAbdin in southern Turkey. Situated a few hundred kilometers northwest of my house in the Nineveh Plains in northern Iraq, TurAbdin is accessible employing the Ibrahim Al-Khalil port. It took me five several hours to reach TurAbdin’s metropolis of Midyat (Akkadian: Matiate).

I was welcomed by my good friends Eliyo Eliyo, an archeologist, Adem Cosken, a Syriac language trainer in Mardin College, and his brother Sharo. They all talk a western-dialect of the Syriac language, which any jap-dialect speaker can recognize with some focus or term comparison.

Lots of of the TurAbdin-area people returned from Europe to rebuild and renovate their houses. They have also reclaimed lots of areas, attributes and villages from the authorities after being pressured to abandon them in the 1980s and 1990s owing to Kurdish and Turkish clashes. The inhabitants fled above protection fears and have been pressured to depart or were killed if they refused to welcome the fighters. The circumstance is at present extra stable as the Turkish army amplified manage.

My trip began in the village of Anhil. Jointly with Eliyo, Adem and Sharo, we achieved a pair who ended up cleaning pistachios and offered us some of their neighborhood normal products and solutions to consume.

We then travelled to the Arkah village, passing by Kafro Tahtayto (the reduced Kafro). There, we achieved Moris, an Assyrian that returned from Europe to renovate his home in the village. The layout of the home was lovely it resembled an Assyrian palace from the historical Assyrian period.

We finished our day by spending time in the wonderful Mor* Malke monastery followed by an evening gathering in Kafro.

Our second day of the journey began with a go to to the Mor Eliyo monastery in the village of Zergal, Batman province. The village is empty of its inhabitants as they were forced to abandon it, leaving only the shadows of the monastery as a standing memory. Later, we headed to Mor Qeryaqos, a monastery in close proximity to Mor Eliyo. The point out has begun renovating the historic setting up to provide as a touristic internet site.

Right after viewing the village of Zergal, we took a break on a Tigris River bridge while on our way to the village of HasanKeyf / HasnoKifo (Akkadian: Kepaneh). Hasankeyf is 1 of the historical towns that dates back again to the 18th century BC and is situated on the Tigris river. The area was the moment guarded by Assyrian armies to reduce enemies from sailing to the money of Nineveh from the north.

The Mor Qeryaqos monastery in the village of Zergal in the Batman province. The village is vacant of inhabitants, leaving only shadows of what when stood below. ( Athra Kado)

As we traveled from Hasankeyf back again to Midyat, we frequented Mor Aho monastery. A person of 5 monasteries built by Saint Aho, it was constructed and named after a piece of the True Cross that he brought back again from Constantinople.

I then headed alone to the attractive town of Mardin to meet with two persons: Dr. Nicholas Al-Jeloo, a returnee from Australia who will work as a instructor in Kadir Has College in Istanbul, and Malfono Yusuf Begtas, a classical Syriac language skilled. We spent the night in the Mar Hurmizd Chaldean church.

The next early morning, we visited the Zerzevan historical fortress. It was constructed between the 2nd and 7th century Ad and is at present a component of an archaeological excavation job. The fortress holds two churches and a Mithraeum temple. The initially church was constructed concerning the 3rd and 7th century. The next was crafted in the 6th century. The temple dates again as much as the 2nd century. Aramaic and Syriac scripts have been observed at the internet site regardless of it getting explained as an historical Roman fortress.

A tiny café in the town of Mardin. ( Athra Kado)

Although travelling to Amed (DiyarBakir), we handed in close proximity to a big bridge named, “Gishru Da’sar Aynotheh” (the bridge of 10 eyes), as there are 10 open up arches beneath it. It is developed on the Tigris river and is thousands of years aged. It was renovated a few moments: initially in 90 Advert during Edessa’sUrhay kingdom, a 2nd time in the 5th century Ad by Amed’s metropolitan, and a third time in the 11th century Ad to permit obtain to individuals travelling to the 40 martyr’s monastery on the other side.

In Amed, we fulfilled with the DiyarBakir Affiliation for Syriac Lifestyle. The organization’s aims are to teach Assyrians who transformed to Islam about their identity as Assyrians. The speak centered on how the Assyrian identification was lost or altered to a Kurdish one as a consequence of the genocide that was perpetrated by the Kurdish tribes with the assist of the Ottoman empire from the Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks during Earth War I.

A pupil at the DiyarBakir Affiliation for Syriac Culture demonstrates off his scientific tests. The corporation strives to teach Assyrians who experienced converted to Islam about their identity. ( Athra Kado)

It is really worth mentioning that prior to the formation of the corporation, thousands of these families secretly taught their kids about their serious id as not remaining Kurds but essentially as being Assyrian/Syriacs of the Christian faith who transformed to Islam. Given that the development of the group (also registered inside the authorities and supported by diaspora Assyrians), these family members brazenly and proudly are able to recognize as Assyrians of the Islamic religion.

Through our time there, we met with the little ones of people families. They had gathered at the organization’s building to discover their ancestor’s Syriac language, as formerly they could not learn or speak it due to the fact of the dread that was instilled from genocidal trauma.

On the past day of our remain in Mardin, prior to returning to Midyat, we visited the official museum of Mardin. The museum consists of artifacts of the area, of which most are from the ancient Assyrian period of time and right after Christianity, which include inscriptions, stones and other kinds of collections belonging to our historical persons.

Upon traveling back again to Midyat, we passed by a village named BneyBeel, that means, “sons of the god Beel.” The village was a target of Ahmad Sulayman Jaziri and his army of countless numbers of adult men for the duration of the genocide. When he attacked, twenty area Assyrian men resisted and fought from a cave on the village’s mountain named “Habis”. Ahmad’s gentlemen couldn’t access the locals, and he was confronted with defeat. The area Assyrian guys managed to run to Za’faran monastery right before their food stuff finished, where by they defended the monastery as effectively.

Assyrian adult men resisted attacks by Ahmad Sulayman Jaziri throughout the genocide by hiding in these caves on the BneyBeel village’s mountain named Habis. ( Athra Kado)

The persons of the village are originally from the town of Mosul, Iraq and they employed to discuss Syriac even so about 4 generations in the past, the mayor of Mardin at that time pressured anyone to speak Arabic. Their church sermons are in Syriac, and the individuals continue on to keep their beautiful village.

We passed by the historical Mor Gabriel monastery, designed at the close of the 4th century. Inside the developing walls, just one can come across science, knowledge, Syriac language students, monks, nuns and flocks of visitors from encompassing spots and all over the entire world, regardless of the limits thanks to pandemic as it could not avoid them from visiting this website to enjoy its spectacular attractiveness, design and non secular strength.

Future, we handed by the village of Midin to Mor Yaqoub church, exactly where we attended a Syriac language class held for the young children of the village. I was really impressed with their sense of power, enthusiasm for finding out and fluency in studying the Syriac language.

We drank coffee with their instructor and then established out to Mor Dodo, a 7th century church in the Bisorino village. Father Saliba Erden greeted our team after he concluded mass. Father taught us about the record of the village and how its men protected the persons and the encompassing villages from their neighbors’ violence throughout WWI genocide. At the rear of the partitions of the church, several Assyrians survived the attacks. Immediately after a pair of several years and a peace deal, even so, Assyrian villagers tried to return to their villages and had been attacked and their villages have been demolished.

A Syriac language lesson for children at Mor Yaqoub church in the village of Midin. ( Athra Kado)

Father Saliba also spoke about Saint Dodo, a bishop in Tekrit, Iraq. A desire by Saint Dodo’s cousin told him to bring Saint Dodo to the village. When they arrived in the vicinity of the cemetery, there was a funeral of a younger gentleman from the village. The persons prayed to Mor Dodo and the youthful person out of the blue resurrected from dying.

We finished our day in the church of Mor Malke in Ister village. The title of the village is derived from Ishtar (the historic Assyrian goddess) and many people from Europe returned to renovate their properties for use for the duration of summer time.

On my final day in TurAbdin, we visited the church of Mor Demet in Zaz village. The church is shielded by a nun named Maryam, who operates by itself immediately after the monk Yaqoub handed away in 2014. She is now the guard of the church, even with struggling with quite a few difficulties from the Kurdish mukhtar of the region.

Maryam, a nun in Zaz village, is effective by yourself to guard the Mor Demet church. ( Athra Kado)

At the conclude of my journey summary, I would like to share an graphic of what remains of some Assyrian victims of Seyfo, the genocide dedicated by the palms of Kurdish tribes and leaders by the support of the Ottoman empire in opposition to the Christian Assyrians in people parts. I apologize for the disturbing graphic and for safety explanations, I will not mention the area where by I took the photograph.

Past but not minimum, my concept to my people in the homeland, specifically in Iraq, as very well as to those in diaspora is that it is incredibly essential that we increase our relationships, fortify the bridges amongst ourselves, and stay clear of the limitations of borders from separating us from 1 one more.

Mardin is only about two hrs from Zakho. The Hakkari heart is one particular hour from Barwar area in Iraq. While in Nisibin, Turkey you can see Beth-Zalin (Qamishli) in Syria with the naked eye with it remaining about 3 hours from Nohadra (Dohuk). Urmia in Iran is only about 4 hrs from Erbil.

Let us strengthen ourselves, mainly because we really don’t have everyone but each and every other, and we are much better when we assistance each other.’

Be aware: There are so lots of villages, monasteries and churches with plenty of tales, many of which I frequented but that I did not include things like in this post. Each individual family members in the villages also had stories to share. By this text, my objective is that you, a respected reader, will consider accomplishing some analysis about the locations in TurAbdin and probably even consider visiting for a good learning experience.

*Mor is a western Syriac dialect term for “Mar” in eastern dialect, and it usually means “my master” or “my teacher” and it is also used for the saints and for Jesus Christ.

*The aspects about the locations were acquired from Eliyo Eliyo and Dr. Nicholas Al-Jeloo who accompanied me on my excursion. I’m grateful for the priceless info they presented.