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Byzantine cistern found under barn in southeastern Turkey

Excavations in the ancient city of Daras in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin have unearthed a 6th century cistern. The Byzantine-era cistern was found in a field used as a barn.

Byzantine cistern found under barn in southeastern Turkey
The Byzantine-era cistern was found in a field used as a barn [Credit: AA]
Nihat Erdoğan, the director of the Mardin Museum, said excavation works have been ongoing in the 3,000-year-old ancient city of Daras, located on the road to Mardin’s Nusaybin district.

Erdoğan said the majority of the Roman city of Daras remained under village houses.

“As excavations continue in Dara, artifacts from the Roman and Persian eras come to light. The latest excavations discovered the Roman-era cistern, which is 18 meters in depth and 15 meters by width. This place was filled with earth that we later emptied. Its ruined ground has been restored as part of a project led by the cultural and natural heritage conservation board,” he added.

Erdoğan said the cistern met the water needs for guests who came from Mardin during the Roman and Persian eras.

Byzantine cistern found under barn in southeastern Turkey
Ruins of rock-cut building in Daras [Credit: Nevit Dilmen/WikiCommons]
“What is particularly interesting about this cistern is that it is behind a four-kilometer wall located in the western part of the city. Even though guests from Mardin were not given permission to enter the city, we believe the cistern was built to meet their water needs,” he added.

The museum director said the cistern would be opened to tourism from January 2017, after the excavation works end in Daras.

He noted that Mardin has historically always been culturally diverse, which presents a rich tourism potential.

“We are working to make this richness visible. Our goal is to promote Mardin to the world and reflect these values. The city has had continuous cultural values since its establishment. We expect Mardin to be known by more tourists,” Erdoğan said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [November 22, 2016]

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