Şanliurfa, the city of Abraham and the oldest Edessa city
Located in southern Turkey, Sanliurfa is a very old town, known as Edessa in the ancient Roman and Greek times. Some say this is where Abraham was born.
If you are looking for historical sights, Sanliurfa is a great place to start from. There are many things to see, such as the Mevhd Hahl mosque, with Abraham’s Cave and the citadel with its Corinthian columns. A good idea would be to take a minibus to visit Job’s cave at Eyup Peygamber. You could also visit Harran, 40 km to the south, near the Syrian border and the many archeological sites and the famous dome shaped houses.
Another idea would be to start your trip to Nemrud Dagi from Sanliurfa, although it’s easier to do so from Adiyaman and Kahta. If you chose this road, while you’re driving from Sanliurfa to Adiyaman you must stop at the Ataturk Dam and take a tour of the dam. The dyke was built over the famous Euphrates River.
If you are looking for nice traditional restaurant you can go to the area near the Harran Hotel. But take into account that the only place where you can have alcoholic beverages is the Hotel Harran Bar. Another famous place you should definitely visit is the Turkish Hamam (bath) at the same hotel.
Once called Edessa, then Syriac, Sanliurfa is a vivid historical destination reminding its visitors of the old northern Mesopotamian civilization.
Sanliurfa belongs to the southeastern part of Turkey dominated by plains and fertile agricultural land. The Anatolian region always knew how to explore the potential of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, enhancing a highly productive economy relying on agriculture.
Often referred to as the “prophets’ city”, Sanliurfa is annually visited by thousands of pilgrims for several reasons. According to the legends and the Bible, the local cave is said to have been the place of birth for the Patriarch Abraham. Moses also lived in this region before returning to Egypt. People are interested to see Abraham’s Cave and the Pool of Sacred Fish (Balikligöl), which are perhaps one of the best attractions of the area.
Dergah is the highlight of the religious pilgrimage area. Thanks to a rich religious, cultural and economic background, mingling Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman elements, the city is praised for its unique architectural style. Churches, mosques, the fortress are the best examples of tradition and stone art. Sanliurfa Fortress is situated on the Damlacik Mountain. Founded by the Romans it was afterwards enforced and enlarged during the Byzantine and Islamic times, restored by the Crusaders.
Urfa is home to Turks as well as Arabs and Kurds who work in the local industry or in agriculture. The local peasants proudly offer unique goods in the traditional bazaar. The authentic ambience is created by a medieval construction and the variety of products on sale: clothes, shoes, food, silk, carpets, gifts and traditional handicraft. Sanliurfa Museum is definitely a must see in the city. Opened in 1969, the museum displays artifacts about the region, archeological collections, rare ceramic objects, amphorae vessels, traditional costumes, jewelry, old inscriptions and early pieces of calligraphic art. One of the finest examples of mosaics in the world is to be found here. Urfa restaurants have a great reputation for flawless hospitality, fast service and excellent meals. Delightful meat dishes and good grills are ready to challenge your appetite and compete with the best specialties you ever had. The city of Sanliurfa is 145 km from Gaziantep, 268 km from Malatya and 345 km from Adana. All the three airports have SunExpress connections with the rest of Turkey and Europe.