Sanliurfa, Turkey

Sanliurfa, known as the City of Prophets, has a very rich and far reaching background, due to its location in the great fertile plain of upper Mesopotamia. The archaeological and ethnographical museums exhibit finds of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic eras from the lower Euphrates region. You will notice a cave here, with several mosques around it here. This cave is believed to be the birthplace of Abraham. The Meviid Halil Mosque is also of another interest. Sanliurfa was praised as the city of the prophets Hiob, Jethro and St. George, besides Abraham, who were said to have lived here.

It is a holy city with "Balikli Göl" at the foot of a crusader castle and surrounded by mosques. The Halil Rahman Mosque is next to a pool which is full of sacred carp. The story about this pool that a holy person of Islam was about to be burned by non-believers and had stafied a big fire to burn him, but the logs turned into carp and the fire into water, and so the "Balikli Göl" was formed. On the other side of this pool, is the Ottoman Rizvaniye Mosque. The Firfirli Mosque, which was once the church of the Apostles, is worth a visit. A walk by the typical eastern bazaar and the old inns (hans), especially Gumruk Hani and Barutcu Hani, will take you back to the days of 1001 nights. Sanli Urfa Citadel and Ayn-i Zeliha Lake are other historical sites in the city.

Harran, 48 kms. south of Urfa, lets you visit a place directly connected with the Bible. It is said that Abraham spent several years of his life in Harran. Harran is a fascinating little town. The beehive-houses are built here and which are still occupied by families who may invite you for a look inside and to drink something cool. You should also visit the ruins of the biggest, ancient Harran Islamic University at which many great Islamic scientists were educated. In addition the ancient city walls are still standing. Sogmatar and Suayb are other old historical cities. You may find good accommodation with a picturesque view in Birecik where the Kelaynak Bird Festival is held every year.

Cigkofte is the famous local delicacy.