Midyat, another ancient city in northern Mesopotamia, was historically defined by its large population of Syriac Christians. In fact, for much of history it was known by its Syriac name, Tur Abdin. Syriac Christianity originated in the first century AD in Antioch, modern day Antakya in southern Turkey. It was the religion of the followers of Jesus Christ and, to this day, Syriac Christians speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
Today, Kurds outnumber Syriac Christians in Midyat. Most Syriac Christians emigrated to neighboring Syria during the past century following the Armenian Genocide (in which 300,000 Christians were also killed) and the enactment of discriminatory policies against Christians by the Ataturk government. Some have returned as a result of the recent war in Syria. Their legacy persists in the Aramaic still spoken on the streets and the nine Syriac churches throughout the city.