Soğmatar Ancient City

Roads in Şanlıurfa take you to reach first Harran, then Şuayb Şebri and then Soğmatar Ancient City ruins. The word Soğmatar comes from the word "Matar" in Arabic that means rain. The waters that are accumulated in cisterns and a myriad of well holes in this region of Tektek Mountains receive a great deal of rain in Winter, fulfilling the water need of sheep and goat flocks in the region. The village is mentioned with the name of "Yağmurlu" (rainy) due to this feature.

It is believed that in the region, Prophet Moses escaped from pharaoh, and engaged in farming here and that one of the well holes was opened by the miraculous sceptre of Prophet Moses.

The hill town at the centre of the village, points out that Soğmatar could have been established before common era. The remnants of walls and towers at the hill reveal that the hill town was used as a castle in 2nd century A.D.

 

According to the researchers, Soğmatar was a Pagan religion centre in 2nd century A.D. This outdoor sanctuary, that is the Sacred Hill, represents Mare-lahe (Lord of the Gods), the chief god of this religion, and constitutes the centre of settlement order of Soğmatar.

It was firstly thought that 7 circular structures which are located around the Sacred Hill and on hills represent Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury but it was understood that there was a grave monument and sacred area here according to the researchers. It is thought that Pagans in Soğmatar who climbed up the Sacred Hill, prayed by facing towards these temples.

Furthermore, it is also thought that Harran Sabiis used to face towards the Sacred Hill, in which the sanctuary of chief god exists, during their pray in Moon God Sin Sanctuary.

There are embossments depicting the gods belonging to 150-200 A.D. and important people on the walls of the cave that is called Pognon Cave, located 250 metres northwest of Soğmatar Castle.

Some of the Syriac writings that are available on the surface of rocks on the Sacred Hill, are related to the monument pillars and altars that were built by important people on this hill on behalf of Marelahe. There is a writing on the west part of the hill as follows:

I am Tridates, the son of Arab Governor Adona. I built this altar and pillar for Marelahe on February in 476, for the lives of my master King and his sons, for my father Adonna's life, for my own life and for the lives of my siblings and my children.

The date of 476 written in the scripture means around 164-165 A.D. according to Seleucid calendar.

There are two god embossments in human shapes that are carved on rocks on the part that is close to the summit on north side of the Sacred Hill. The one that is on the right is a male figure at 1,10 metres. There is an image in oyster shape that symbolizes the sun, behind this figure there is another one standing and clothed with a dress reaching to her knee. The expression of “the God commanded this statue for Ma'na on 13th of March, 476” is written on the right side of this embossment in Syriac language.