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Ephesus of Mesopotamia: Tare

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Ephesus of Mesopotamia: Tare
Ephesus of Mesopotamia: Tare

30 km from Mardin. Tare, located in the village of Oğuz in the southeast, is the most magnificent of the ancient settlements in the region. It was not known when the city, whose ancient name was Anastasiopolis, was founded. Tare has been one of the most important trade centers of Mesopotamia for centuries. The city witnessed the war of Alexander the Great with Persian Emperor Darius.

Tare, Dedication place

When the Persians took Nusaybin in 363, it became the border of the Roman Empire. The city was arbitrated as an advanced border gate by Emperor Anastasius in the 5th century; It was conquered by Persians 100 years later. Towards the end of the 7th century, the city came under the rule of the Umayyads, then the Abbasids, and the Ottomans in the 15th century.

Tare ancient city
Tare ancient city

The city of Tare, consisting of structures carved into the rock, has spread over a wide area with its surroundings. The rock tombs in the east of Tare extend to Kuruçay. The city, which is protected by a wall of 4 km, has two gates to the south and north. The inner castle is located on the upper flat of the 50-meter-high hill in the north of the city.

Byzantine Empire Period

The eastern Roman empire (Byzantine Empire) aimed to turn the Mardin region and its surroundings into a military buffer and strategically held border area against the Sassanids, with the camps and castles built. One of the castle cities built within this framework is Tare. Rome, which lost Nusaybin to Iran and could not get it back in spite of long struggles, finally decided to establish an alternative new camp city near here.

Tare ancient city
Tare ancient city

For this purpose, in line with the order of Emperor Anastasius (491 – 518), the construction of Tare (village of Oğuz), a small village 20 km northwest of Nusaybin, was started. The construction of the new city was completed in 507 after a three-year work with the contribution of workers brought from Syria, and the castle was named Anastasiupolis in reference to the emperor.

Tare ancient city
Tare ancient city

It was understood that during the reign of Emperor Justinianus (527 – 565), parallel to the public construction activities, Tare, which was understood to be rebuilt in the meantime, was also made of water-related cisterns. The Justinianus period refers to the period when an intensive zoning activity was undertaken against the Iranian attacks for the Upper Tigris basin. Because in this period, the existing walls made of mudbrick and brick were renewed with more robust materials, and on the other hand, small garrison castles were built at strategic points. According to Procopius, Justinian I (M.S. 527 – M.S. 565) has repaired the simpler, weaker and time-destroyed walls made by Anastasius and made new additions. In particular, it solved the system and problems in providing water. For this reason, the city was named Justiniana Nova at that time.

Tare War

The city of Tare fortress also witnessed the battle of Tare, which took place in 530 between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanid Empire under the leadership of commander Belisarius. Flavius Belisarius is considered the greatest commander of the Emperor Justinianos era, and the first known command success was his victory in the battle of the Tare. In 530, a Sassanid army of about 40,000 people crossed the border in the direction of Tare Castle. Belisarius, the commander of the Byzantine Eastern Forces, created a sharp-turn fortification mechanism in the defense of the Tare fortress.

First, he dug a trench in front of the castle, behind the range of the archers in the castle. The forward line trenches that make up both wings are extended to both sides of the valley, and wide passages are built on them at certain intervals in accordance with the cavalry. This fortification has brought the center of the fortress to a position that will not take offensive as the wings are out. In this way, the battle for Tare was won.

Tare Ancient City Architecture and Structures

The ancient city of Tare is surrounded by walls of 4 km and has two gates, one in the north and the other in the south. Today, these walls are partially visible. There are mosques, palaces, bazaars, churches, houses, bridges and cisterns inside the walls. On the north side of the city, there is an inner castle on a hill that is 50 meters high, and today there are houses where villagers live on the hill. Since the pieces used in the construction of the ancient city of Tare were used in the construction of these houses, it was difficult to access information about the city from ancient times.

Tare ancient city

In the ancient city of Tare, the city walls, necropolis (cistern), rock tombs, weapons and supplies warehouses, cellars in the rock-carved part, churches, residential areas have partially survived even though they are deformed. In addition, the stone bridge, water cisterns, water channels, underground settlement still survive in all its glory. Looking at the water channels and cisterns in the ancient city of Tare, it can be said that the first dam of Mesopotamia is here. There are rock tombs in the east of the caves.

Tare Ancient City And Ruins Excavations

Professor Dr. The first excavations were initiated by Metin Ahunbay and his team in cooperation with the Mardin Museum in 1986, and mosaics with umbrella motifs and animal figures were found during the excavations. These mosaics found are similar to Zeugma mosaics. The necropolis excavation and cleaning works in 2010 are reported by the Mardin Museum as follows: “In this area, which is the quarries of the city, there was a cemetery, most of which was filled with alluvium filling in the past 1500 years. We intensified excavations in this area in terms of revealing cemeteries made with this Roman tradition and their illumination in that period. Generally, grave gifts came out. The writings on the graves gave us information about the history. We have Syriac, Greek and Latin writings. We discovered this in our publication screening and ancient resource research about Tare. Here, Sunday rituals and resurrection ceremonies are held on holy Saturdays.

Just like the prophet Zechariah in Islam, rituals were held in the Christian faith about the resurrection, the reunification of the bones and the reunification of the soul. They created that kind of space here in the sacred bone accumulation area in that area, where these bones will be collected, blessed and resurrected. Although the exact number of skeletons is unknown, we have come across bones that may have belonged to over 400 people since the burial necropolis carries the bones of people buried in another area. There are three types of tombs here. Tomb tombs carved into the rock, vaults and sarcophagi. Generally, clergy and spiritual leaders lie in these cist graves. Judaism, Iran-based Zoroastrianism and Meculusism, as well as Christianity in the region, provided a common religious interaction and as a result of cultural heritage. ”

Tare Ancient City And Ruins Restorations

The grave gallery, which was found as a result of excavations in the ancient city of Tare and where more than 400 human bones we mentioned above, was restored and opened to visitors in May 2017. The grave gallery was restored with the 85,000 Turkish Lira allowance of the Dicle Development Agency, allowing visitors to interact in the gallery.

70% of Tare, known as Ephesus of Mesopotamia, is under the ground.

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