Ground Zero of the History: Şanlıurfa
Area: 18.765 km²
# of Districts: 13
Districts: Akçakale, Suruç, Halfeti, Birecik, Siverek, Harran, Viranşehir, Bozova, Hilvan, Karaköprü, Haliliye, Eyyübiye, Ceylanpınar.
Elevation: 518 meters.
Primary Resources: Tourism, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Energy, Commerce.
Handcrafts: Jewellery, Coppersmith, Felting, Silk Weaving, Carpet and Rug Weaving, Filigree, Wood Engraving, Stonemasonry, Furriery, Cloth Engraving.
Şanlıurfa has highway connections from all across Turkey.
Brought into service in 2007, Şanlıurfa GAP Airport receives regular flights.
Urfa-style çiğ köfte
Urfa-style pure kebab
Eggplant kebab made with 'Balcan' that is cultivated in Birecik
Liver kebab at all hours of the day and night
Very hot içli köfte (stuffed meatballs)
Lolaz wrap, an essential of the streets
Ağzı açık, ağzı yumuk
Roasted isot - hot chili pepper
Copper cups and coffee pots
Hand-made wood products produced using kuntakari and wood engraving art without using pin
Silver filigree jewellery
Şanlıurfa peanut (pistachio)
Have a look at the oldest sculpture of the world in Urfa Museum.
Lose yourself in Urfa streets and visit bird bazaar.
Visit old bazaars.
Feed fish at Balıklıgöl.
Drink a tea at Gümrük Hanı.
Sing folk songs in Sıra nights and eat çiğ köfte.
Drink liquorice sherbet.
Eat liver at Haşimiye.
Take a tour at Göbeklitepe which is the oldest history of 'itself'.
Wet your feet in the Euphrates.
Eat chickpeas and bread in Birecik.
Have a look at bald ibises.
Ride camels in Harran.
Jesus Christ sent a letter with regard to bless Urfa and a miraculous portrait in which he wiped his face through one of his apostles Addai to King of Urfa Abgar Ukkama. Christianity has been firstly accepted in Urfa by this King as a national religion.
Atatürk Dam is the largest dam in Turkey and the fourth largest dam in the world, which has 169 meters of set elevation, 1,600 meters of length and 800 meters of width on ground. Power of the Euphrates and operations of water tribunes can be watched on observation terrace that is located on the body of the dam.
Natural living environment of bald ibis which are on the brink of extinction due to pesticides and over-hunting is Birecik and Nil River Valley along the coast of the Euphrates.
Gazelles, whose homelands are known to be Middle East and North Africa, can only be observed in Ceylanpınar, Şanlıurfa in Turkey.
Urfa is one of the cities that became famous for horse raising. Two thirds of Arab horses in Turkey are bred in the farms in Urfa. According to the culture of Urfa where the horse is regarded as luck, it is believed that the house in which the horse is fed, brings luck to seven other adjacent houses.
Şanlıurfa is not an ordinary city. This is the place where humanity built its first temple, passed into settled life and engaged in agriculture, in other words, the place where "everything began"…
Şanlıurfa is the city of temples, churches and mosques. It is the land of bazaars, trade and fertile soils. Urfa is the city where the historic smell of Middle East is still there, together with legends of thousands of years. Şanlıurfa is the place where Adam engaged in farming, and the Prophets lived in, such as Abraham, Ayyub, Shuaib, Yaqub and Elijah.
Such a huge number of civilisations have dwelt in here… The city hosted quite original and colourful cultures such as the Assyrians, the Kingdom of Macedonia, the Romans, and the Ottomans for thousands of years.
Urfa is still standing on its feet with its hundreds of hectares of fertile soils animated by the Euphrates River; pistachio trees, wheat ears, vivid trade life, bazaars, pigeons, Arab horses with elegant hooves, gazelles with timid glances, bald ibes that still remember the road of Ethiopia and the sacred fish. The city is still vivid, real and alive…
We invite you Şanlıurfa to experience a tale with ancient background.
On the trail of history...
Urfa (Urha with its old name) which has been known since the Assyrians, has an ancient history. According to our knowledge, the old city was destructed and it was re-established with the name of Edessa during the period of the Seleucids. This city has been the capital city of Kingdom of Osroene from 130 B.C. to 242 A.D.
According to the rumour, Abgar, the King of Osroene, exchanged correspondence with Christ and the other Abgar who is known with the title of "great", converted to Christianity at the beginning of 3rd century as he obtained the privilege of being the first sovereign who converted to this religion.
The dialect of Aramaic which was used in Urfa has been known with its Syriac name. Syriac was a language of literary and science around 200 A.D. in this region replacing the Greek language. This language played a key role in converting the ancient civilization of the orient into Christianity and Islam.
The city remained under the administration of the Roman-Byzantine for 400 years and it was conquered by Arab armies under the command of Iyad Bin Ganem in 639. Urfa has protected the character of being a Christian city under the period of Islamic sovereignty which took 400 years, and continued to improve under Assyrian culture Arab sovereignty, as Umayyad caliphs moved their centres to Harran.
Urfa was conquered this time by Turks in 1087. Then, the Crusaders established the County of Edessa between 1098 and 1146. Saladin Ayyubi conquered the city in 1146. Urfa was then taken into the administration of the Ottoman Empire in 1517.
Points of Interest
The list of places to be seen and visited in Şanlıurfa is very long but number one of the list is obvious. Göbekli Tepe, the first temple of the world, is one of the top places that you need to see first. Göbekli Tepe, which changed what is known about the history of humanity with its exploration, still remains a mystery about how it was built at those conditions of the period.
Şanlıurfa is memorialised for “Balıklıgöl”. It is believed that the fire which was lit to kill Prophet Abraham, turned into a lake and that the woods thrown in the fire are the fish that live in the lake at present. Hundreds of thousands of people from various religions and nations visit this sacred place.
According to the legend, Harran Plain is the place in where humanity set foot for the first time, plough was used and the oxen were ploughed for the first time in history. When you see 'Harran Houses' which are peculiar to the region, you will feel that you are getting lost within the frames of time.
Mosques, churches, bazaars, tombs, madrasas. Of course kebab restaurants preparing scrumptious kebabs, spice-sellers and special coffee makers…
The black rose of the Euphrates, Halfeti; and the land of bald ibis, Birecik…
Şanlıufa invites you to a mysterious journey that you cannot find in any other city.