Mardin is a highly addictive and unmissable spot. Minarets emerge from a baked brown labyrinth of meandering lanes, a castle dominates the old city, and stone houses cascade down the hillside above the Mesopotamian plains. As a melting pot of Kurdish, Yezidi, Christian and Syrian cultures, it also has a fascinating cultural mix. Mardin is as safe as the rest of the country, and you will be rewarded for your journey with golden stone alleyways, astonishing views, a rich multicultural heritage, and surprisingly excellent wine.

At the end of the day, watching the sun sink into the distant horizon over a copper cup of Syriac wine or strong murra coffee, it is hard not to feel transported to another world.

Mardin’s weather can vary wildly from season to season, regularly rising above 40°C in summer and dropping well below freezing in winter. The best season to visit is spring, when the plains below are green and flowers are in bloom in the churchyards; if you visit around Orthodox Easter you may be able to witness some of the celebrations. Autumn can also be pleasantly cool, with long crisp evenings.