|On the great plain of
High Mesopotamia, Sanli Urfa, known in ancient times first as Ur and later
as Edessa, proudly exhibits the legacy of all the civilizations that have
prospered in this region. In the second millennium B.C., it was a city of
a Hurrite state. Tradition relates that Abraham was born in a cave near
the area where the Mevlid Halil Mosque now stands. Today the cave is a
pilgrimage site and flocks at pigeons don't seem to disturb the elderly
men praying around the entrance. The remains of a castle with two lane
Corinthian columns rising above the ruined walls, stands a tob a small
crest. At the foot of the hills, the lovely Halil Rahman Mosque is built
around a quiet pool in which sacred carp swim.
The 17th century Ottoman Ridvaniye Mosque aria the Firfirli Mosque,
formerly the Church of the Apostles, are worth a detour. The archaeology
and ethnography museum, one of the best in Turkey houses important
Neolithic and Chalcolithic finds from the Lower Firat region. To capture
the spirit of Sanli Urfa, wander through the vaulted eastern bazaar and
linger in the courtyards of the old hans (inns); try to find Gumruk Hani
and Barutcu Hani-they are the the most interesting.
Believed to be the ancient city of the same name mentioned in the Old
Testament, Harran is known more now for its unusual beehive dwellings than
as the place where Abraham spent several years of his life. The
archaeological remains include those of the largest ancient Islamic
University,city walls dating from the eighth century, four gates and a
citadel. The GAP project will transform Harran into one of the most
fertile areas in Turkey.
|Birecik, 80 Km west
of Sanli Urfa, straddles the Firat river, its skyline dominated by the
town's citadel. A nice place to take a break,there are good accommodations
and camping facilities here.