The 3,000-year-old Mardin Castle, known as the Eagle’s Nest but closed to visitors as it serves as a military base as part of a protocol with NATO, may be the latest addition to a list of tourist attractions, Doğan News Agency has reported.
In a recent visit to the castle, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Orhan Miroğlu said the castle should serve for tourism at the same time while serving as a military base.
He said the castle can open to tourism in the next five years with a small budget. “Discovering the Mardin Castle is necessary to discover the city,” he added.
The castle is 1 kilometer in length and 30-150 meter in width and perches on high hills, 1,000 meters above the Mesopotamia plain. The castle is home to ruins of structures that were once used for various jobs in the past.
Visiting the castle with Miroğlu and speaking about what can be done for the castle to serve tourism, the Mardin Museum director Nihat Erdoğan said the castle was built in the Akkoyunlu era and began to collapse in the latest era of the Ottoman Empire, after 1810. “In the 1950s and 1960s, bricks on the castle began falling on top of houses on the skirts of the castle,” he said.
Miroğlu said that despite statements from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
and relevant ministries about the castle, the castle is not in the position they desire.
“As long as visitors come to the castle and look at Mesopotamia from there, I don’t believe that Mardin tourism will progress. We can make the hotels full capacity and do many things for local tourism, but there will always be something missing. It is very interesting that excavation works have been projected for five years and it is possible with very small budgets. Even these small budgets cannot be allocated because of our lack of attention. But we will do our best in the coming days,” he stressed.
Miroğlu said correspondences were made between the culture and defense ministries for the transfer of the castle to the Culture Ministry. “But as you know, we have a radar system, which was set up when we established relations with NATO. This radar system is still functional today and very important. It is also very important that the opening of the castle to tourism gradually and revealing its history of its structure is on its way to UNESCO,” he added.
He added that a tranquil environment restored in Mardin in the last one year, after decades-old of fighting with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK), has had a positive impact on tourism in the city.
“This tourism movement needs to meet the real history. When visiting Mardin, people should climb up to the castle and look at the Mesopotamia plain from this castle,” Miroğlu said.
At the end of 2014, a three-month reinforcement work was carried out in the castle after stones falling off the castle triggered panic in the city. Eleven professional mountaineers including experts, local personnel, engineers and architects, took measures to prevent the stones from falling by using 10-meter bolt networks.
For the first time in the history of Turkey, a barrier system against 10 tons of rocks had been set up.
On June 26, 2015, ousted Mardin co-mayor Ahmet Türk initiated a campaign in collaboration with non-governmental organizations with the slogan “Mardin Castle belongs to the people of Mardin” and demanded the castle to be open to visitors.