Traveling and feeling Şanlıurfa, the city of prophets

Şanlıurfa city

Şanlıurfa, which ranks first among the cities to be seen in Turkey, is one of the cities located in the Southeastern Anatolia region.

It would not be wrong to say that Şanlıurfa is a versatile city. Şanlıurfa, one of the priority cities of tourism in Turkey, is known as the “City of Prophets”. When you see the narrations of the prophets and the abundance of religious buildings in Şanlıurfa, you understand why the city is called by this name.

Another outstanding attraction of Şanlıurfa is of course Şanlıurfa dishes and Şanlıurfa cuisine. Şanlıurfa’s tables are full of flavor and variety.

Apart from these two features, Şanlıurfa is also an assertive city with places to visit, shopping opportunities, museums and its immediate surroundings, such as Halfeti, Harran and Göbeklitepe, which adorn the top of the list of places to visit in Turkey.

Şanlıurfa history

Şanlıurfa is a very interesting city in terms of history. The history of Şanlıurfa, especially with Göbeklitepe, which has made a worldwide impact in recent years, has become even more interesting.

It is accepted that Şanlıurfa and its surroundings have been inhabited since the Neolithic Age and the history of Şanlıurfa has a history of 13,500 years. In 1992, it was revealed that the statue called “Balıklıgöl Statue” is 13,500 years old and is the oldest statue in the world.

Göbeklitepe, which was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2011, is considered to be the oldest temple in the world. The history of Göbeklitepe goes back 11,500 years. According to the legends, it is said that Şanlıurfa was one of the first 11 cities established after Noah’s Flood.

Considering all these, it cannot be denied that Şanlıurfa, which has been the subject of hundreds of legends and stories since its establishment and has hosted thousands of historical artifacts, has an important place in the history of humanity.

Places to visit in Şanlıurfa

Şanlıurfa, which has hosted countless civilizations from past to present, is a city full of places to visit. There are many places to visit in Şanlıurfa, from historical buildings to mosques, from museums to bazaars.

Let’s start with the must-see spots in city center and its surroundings. Many of the places to visit in Şanlıurfa are located in the center. While creating your Şanlıurfa sightseeing route, you can put Şanlıurfa center first.

Photo: Gzt

Among the places to visit in the center are Balıklıgöl and Aynzeliha Lake, which have become the symbols of Şanlıurfa at first. The mosques in and around Balıklıgöl region are among the places to visit in Şanlıurfa.

The most famous of these are Eyyüp Prophet Office, Rizvaniye Mosque, Halil-Ür Rahman Mosque, the cave where Prophet Abraham was born, and Dergah Mosque (Mevlid-i Halil Kulliye). All these are within a five-minute walk of each other.

Another must-see place in city center is Şanlıurfa Castle. Castle is one of the must-see places with its ramparts, view of the city from the top, and huge columns that have become the subject of legends.

Museums of Şanlıurfa

If you enjoy visiting museums during your travels, there will definitely be one of the Şanlıurfa museums that interests you. Haleplibahçe Mosaic Museum is the most famous museum. Mosaics depicting warrior Amazon queens, considered to be among the first examples of the world, are exhibited in this museum.

Şanlıurfa Museum, Turkey’s largest museum, is one of the museums that deserves time. There are historical artifacts from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze and Iron ages in the museum. Among these works, Balıklıgöl Statue, which is the oldest known sculpture in the world, historical artifacts belonging to Göbeklitepe and Nevali Çori shed light on the history of Şanlıurfa.

Apart from these museums, there are other interesting smaller museums such as Şanlıurfa Culinary Museum, Urfa City Museum, and Kurtuluş Museum.

Göbeklitepe

Göbeklitepe is currently considered the oldest archaeological temple and settlement in the world.

The history of Göbeklitepe dates back to 10,000 BC, that is, the Neolithic Period. If the dates don’t mean much to you, you might think like this: Göbeklitepe existed 7,500 years before the Egyptian Pyramids. It is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a temple that changed the course of history.

Göbeklitepe is located on the Harran Plain, near the Örencik Village. Although only a limited part of it has been excavated, many extraordinary finds have been found.

The most interesting finds are the T-shaped monumental obelisks that can reach 6 meters in length and 40 tons in weight. Most of the obelisks have animal, human or abstract symbols.

Halfeti

Photo: Gezimanya

Halfeti, a district of Şanlıurfa, is at the top of the list of places to see in Turkey. Halfeti district is divided into Old Halfeti and New Halfeti.

Old Halfeti is the name of the region that was mostly flooded with the construction of the Birecik Dam in 2000. New Halfeti, on the other hand, is the part of the city where new settlements started to be established after this event.

The entire settlement has been moved to New Halfeti. You see almost only tourists in Old Halfeti. For this reason, life is quite calm, and it is one of the cities in the world in the category of “Cittaslow”, that is, slow / calm city.

Halfeti, also known as Hidden Paradise and Lost City, literally offers fascinating views both on the water and on the submerged parts.

You can explore the black part of Halfeti by walking among the small stone houses and narrow streets dominated by monochrome. Boat tours are organized to explore the old settlements that were flooded and spread along the Birecik Dam. You can see the village of Savaşan, Rumkale and the Great Mosque with boat tours.

Harran

Conical Mesopotamian houses. Photo: KulturPortali

Harran, one of the world’s first science centers, is among the top places to see around Şanlıurfa.

The most striking thing in Harran, whose history dates back to 2000 BC, is the 3,000-year-old conical Mesopotamian houses. Almost all of the local people are of Arab origin and, as you can guess, Arab culture dominates the region.

There is a fairy-tale atmosphere straight out of the history books, and on the other hand, the local people’s life does not seem so bright. When you first enter Harran, locals gather around you, tourists are seen as a source of income in a way.

Among the places to visit in Harran are Harran Culture House and Harran University.