Opened a couple of years ago in yet another beautiful old building, this Museum focuses on Mardin’s ethnography with excellent displays, including explanations in Turkish and English, of life in old Mardin. Indeed the lifestyle detailed here was current until 30 years or so ago.
The photo shows a platform that would be erected on the flat roof of a house during the summer, where families could escape the heat in the evenings and, on really hot nights, sleep outdoors.
These structures are still in use but these days are made of metal and left out on the roofs all year round.
This writer remembers seeing them being made by the carpenters in Diyarbakir in 1971 – they were sold as ‘flat packs’, you hired your donkey to take all the bits home and then did self-assembly. And you all thought IKEA pioneered the concept.
And hanging over the side, a convenient ladle for dipping into the water jar.
The Museum is a glorious testament to traditional life in Mardin and, amazingly, downstairs there is an art gallery with an extremely valuable collection of Turkish art from the mid-nineteenth century onwards when figurative painting first began in the fading days of the Ottoman Empire.
This is the entrance to the actual museum building.
The whole thing has been funded by one of Turkey’s wealthiest families, the Sabancı’s, although we couldn’t discover what, if any, connection they have with Mardin.
The basement art gallery is designed to be an educational resource, and it is certainly a collection the equivalent of which cannot be seen outside Istanbul. Whilst the ground floor museum serves to preserve Mardin’s rich cultural heritage.
And the entry fee is only 1TL and free for holders of Turkish Museum Cards.