Amida (today Diyarbakır) was the capital of the Arameans of Beth Zamani (2nd millennium BC). In late antiquity, Amida was an important Roman city and was fortified by Emperor Constantius II, who also stationed seven legions there. In 359, Amida was besieged for 73 days by the Sassanid king Shapur II and finally stormed. Even later, the site was fiercely contested in the course of the Roman-Persian Wars. Amida was conquered by the Arabs in 638 and by Selim I in 1517.
The bishopric of Amida was already represented at the imperial councils of Nikaia (325) and Constantinople (381) and belonged to the Patriarchate of Antioch. After the Council of Chalcedon (451), Amida became a diocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and remained so until the 20th century. Today, only a few Aramaic Christians (Turkish: Süryani) live permanently in the city. The Armenians form a small remnant community around their Theodor Church, which dates back to the 15th century.
Diyarbakır has one of the largest and best-preserved fortifications in the world. It is mostly made of basalt.
In 349, the Roman Caesar Constantius II had the outer walls and the castle of the city renewed and extended. This gave the walls their present appearance. Since then, every culture has perpetuated itself in the walls through extensions. The wall is about five kilometres long and has a height of ten to twelve metres and a thickness of three to five metres. It has 82 towers and four gates. The gates point in the four cardinal directions.
St Mary's Church in Diyarbakir
In St. Mary's Church, which is probably otherwise hardly accessible to tourists, we are received by the Syrian Orthodox priest there and celebrate a Catholic mass with our parish priest.
The church is from the 4th century. The columns of the church are even older. They come from a pre-Christian sun temple.