9th century BC Assyrian tables refer to Midyat as Matiate or city of caves because its earliest inhabitants lived in nearby caves. Many different empires have ruled over Midyat – the Mitannians, Assyrians, Urartus, Persian Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Abbas’da Seljuk and finally the Ottomans. Its Syrian name was Tur-Abdin.
There have been various invasions of Mongol and Turkish tribes up until the 20th Century and in WWI many of the Assyrian population was severely decimated. During the 1960s many Syriac people left for a better life in Western countries and Kurdish people have since made their homes here. Just a few Syriac people remain here and have been joined by Syrians now seeking refuge from the current troubles in Syria