‘Child guides’ in Dara ancient city

Esra Aydın

MARDİN – ‘Child guides’, who surround the tourists coming to the historical Dara village, tell them the history of ancient city.

‘Sweet’ children, who become guides for tourists in historical sites, don’t change the fact that their labor is exploited. In the historical Dara village of Mardin’s Artuklu district, there are many children, who tell the history to the tourists. These guides, who cannot read or write very well in their language, memorize the English words and try to tell the history of the ancient city to the tourists. Muhammet is one of these children, who earn their pocket money. Muhammet works as a guide at the weekends during school term and in the summer holiday and he shares what he earns with his family.

Muhammet, who states he is happy to tell the history of the ancient city, says, “I live in Dara village. This village is famous for its historical monuments and I am a guide in this village. While I am telling the history of this village, I get my pocket money. I like to be a guide. I am also good at history lesson at school. Several of my friends and I do this job here. I work here at the weekends during the school term and I work in summer holiday whole day.”


In the early Byzantine times, Dara was an important East Roman fortress city in northern Mesopotamia on the border with the Sassanid Empire. Because of its great strategic importance, it featured prominently in the Roman-Persian conflicts of the 6th century, with the famous Battle of Dara taking place before its walls in 530.