An international kite festival, the first such event in Mardin, a historic southeastern city long beset by terrorism, has brought together professional kite runners from Turkey and around the world.
Kite runners from 10 countries including France, the Netherlands, Russia and India participated in the four-day event organized by local authorities. Giant kites took off from the city's renowned landmark, Mardin Citadel, which on Tuesday was opened exclusively for the festival's final day, 30 years after its closure for restoration.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Digant Joshi, a kite runner from India, said he was concerned at first by a visit to Mardin, which is located near the border with Syria and a civil war. But his fears turned out to be groundless. "It is beautiful here and we like Turkey very much. We appreciate both the people and the city itself," he said. Stanislav Kolbintsev, a Russian kite runner, said they had received a very warm welcome from locals.
Prior to the closing event, the festival hosted kite-flying bouts for thousands of children who learned how to build and fly kites in free workshops held earlier this month. As well as the ancient citadel, kite runners took to the rooftops of the historic stone houses of Mardin's old city.