Deyrul Zafaran Monastery.
Built in AD495 and dedicated to the worship of the sun , this monastery has had a colourful history. It had to be rebuilt in 607 after it was destroyed by the Persians and then was looted by the Tamerlane a couple of centuries later.The magnificent building was later abandoned until the bishop of Mardin carried out important renovations and stayed there until he died. It then became the official seat of the patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox church until it was moved to Damascus in 1932 , the site continues to act as a local boarding school.
The monastery has 365 rooms – one for each day of the year.
Down a flight of narrow stairs leads you to the ‘original sanctuary’ an eerie underground chamber.This room was reportedly used by the sun worshippers, whereby they viewed their god rising through the small window at the eastern end. The ceiling is constructed by huge rocks held magically together without any mortar.