The Old Urfa
The ''Urfa Houses'' with their rammers separately designed for men and women, street doors, spacious rooms, yards, iwans, arched corner stones, kitchens, storerooms, window-houses for birds, pits, arbours, roofs where you can watch the stars during the night and many more vouches for the beauty of Urfa.
The Old Urfa neighbourhoods are full of narrow and maze-like streets, where you can hear voices but cannot tell where they come from. When you slightly open a door, you see a huge yard, witness their life, and discover the origin of those voices.
Abbaras introduce their visitor to the streets, mansions, and mosques.
Nowadays these beautiful houses are not used as mansions, but as guest houses waiting for their visitors. Life still goes on in the streets with women wearing shiny velvet clothes, men wearing purple keffiyeh, pigeons wearing accessories, and laughs of children. You can come across old masters trying to survive in the streets through felting with all the power they have.
For centuries some things remained the same in these streets: the colourful clothes of women, the smell of bread, yufka, and the taste of isot pepper.
After passing by Haşimiye Square with its copper goods and isot pepper sellers, and peddlers selling liver kebab, Urfa Bazaar welcomes you through its small arched door. Made up of tens of streets, this maze-like bazaar has many other doors, but this door brings you together with the ancient structure with light beams serving you a nice breeze and saving you from the hectic life of the city. Urfa Bazaar unites traditions with modernism and makes you forget what is outside as soon as you step in the bazaar.
A part of the bazaar is full of cloth merchants, coppersmiths, carpenters, shoe sellers, felt makers, carpet and rug sellers, the women from Harran and nearby villages wearing shiny clothes with their black eyeliners and tattoos, come here to shop for dress fabrics made of Arabian silk. As soon as they buy the dress fabrics they are looking for, it is time for them to visit Tailor's Bazaar, where masters of tailoring pursue their art.
The heart of the inns of Ottoman Empire and the bazaar with eight doors are at Gümrük Han, known as Alaca Han because of the two-colour cut stones embellishing its external walls. Around this inn, built during the era of Suleiman the Magnificent and crossing the waters of Halil-ür Rahman Lake, there are other bazaars.
Previously named as Şıra Bazaar, Gümrük Han is a colorful world full of carpet and rug sellers. At the second floor of this inn the tailors, smothered by the high temperature inside, take out their ironing tables and do their work as they watch the things around them.
Opening with a prayer every morning, Sipahi Bazaar, where colourful carpets, rugs, furs, and felts are sold and auctioned was made for the horses of sipahis (cavalrymen) from the Gümrük Han and was used as İplikçi Bazaar for a while. Kazzaz Bazaar or also called as Bedesten is the most mystical bazaar, both sides of which are covered with silky covers, Syrian clothes, keffiyes and ihrams with its four domes and a vault inside. With its Attar Bazaar where healing herbs, and all types of spice are sold, İsotçu Bazaar is the place where you can buy various types of isot. Yemenci Bazaar hosts the masters of wood engraving. Full of jewellery dealers selling filigree and neckbands, Kınacı Bazaar is extensively visited by women. Kürkçü Bazaar bares the fur sellers and Keçeci Bazaar hosts felt sellers, last representatives of these crafts both of which have slowly become forgotten arts and mechanized.
As you walk further into the bazaar, you are welcomed by cutlers and tobacco sellers. Then comes Demirci Bazaar and Bakırcı Bazaar on one side and Eskici Bazaar on the other side where you can find various sorts of tobacco products.
Moreover, Koltukçu Bazaar, Oturakçı Bazaar, Kazancı Bazaar, Neccar Bazaar, Çulcu Bazaar, Çadırcı Bazaar, Saraç Bazaar, Kunduracı Bazaar, Tenekeci Bazaar, Eski Kuyumcu Bazaar, Kokacı Bazaar, Kasap Bazaar, Boyahane Bazaar, Kavafhane Bazaar, Hanönü Bazaar, Neçek Han with its linen drapers, Hacı Kamil Han, Gümrük Han are some of the most outstanding spots for shopping around this region still preserving its ancient beauties.
The pigeons are a passion at the Old Urfa.
There are pigeon shelters on the walls of historical houses. In Urfa, people believe that where there are pigeons, there are not any trouble or accident and the houses where pigeons are fed, there will be happiness and fruitfulness.
The pigeons, embellishing the sky of a fabulous city, are one of the miracles making a city desirable and habitable. The love Urfa has for pigeons demonstrates the unconditional love a human being can have for another creature.
It is a privilege to watch the sky filled with pigeons. The visitors of Urfa keep their eyes up to the sky to watch the beautiful pigeons fly.
Gök Samı, Zırhlı, Siyah Müsevvet, Kırmızı - Sarı Everdi, Şarabi, Akkuyruk, Bağdadi, Sarı - Kırmızı Bağdadi, Sarı Derviş Ali, Kırmızı Derviş Ali Posta, Mavi Baş, Karabaş, Kırmızı Baş, Mor Şallı, Kırmızı Şallı, Zırhlı, Şebap, Taklacı, Bango are some of the types of pigeons you might come across.
The sellers deeply connected with the pigeons and the bird houses in the yards of their houses prove the love Urfa has for pigeons. It is always a pleasure to watch the pigeons fly with earrings around their neck and anklets around their feet. Also, ''coffeehouses for bird lovers'' are quite popular in Urfa.
In ''Pigeon Fight'' taking place as a festival once a year, people of Urfa free almost 500 thousand pigeons in the city. In this traditional event, the aim is enabling the birds flying in packs to include other birds freely flying and take them home with the well-trained pack.
In this event, the loyalty of the birds and competence of the bird trainers are tested and the strong pigeons coming back home bring the weak ones with them. If a pigeon goes home to another householder, it becomes the pigeon of that householder.