The Late Antique and Medieval Church and Monasteries of Midyat and the surrounding area (Tur Abdin) in the southeastern Mardin (Mêrdîn) were added to the list, according to a statement from Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The Church of Mor Sobo Yoldath Aloho (Meryem Ana), Deyrul Zafaran Monastery, Mor Abai Monastery, Mor Loozor Monastery, Mor Yakup at Ṣālaḥ (Barıştepe) Monastery, the Church of Mor Quryaqos at ʿUrdnus (Bağlarbaşı) and the Church of Mor ʿAzozoʾel at Kfarze (Altıntaş) were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List.
Tur Abdin (meaning “the Mountain of the servants of God” in Syriac) was settled in the Assyrian period, but became a holy mountain for the Syriac Orthodox Church in the 6th century.
Located in the centre of the Tur Abdin region, Midyat covers eighty villages with approximately one hundred churches and seventy monasteries.
This rural religious architecture belongs to the Syriac Orthodox community, as Tur ʿAbdin was populated mostly by Syriac Christians despite being within the boundaries of Muslim states since the 7th century.
Turkish authorities have long been criticised for not protecting these ancient sites. Many monastries in the region have been in ruins for years and no proper renovation work has been attempted.