Urfa (Harran)

Known as “Edessa” in ancient times, Şanlıurfa is a very special Anatolian city which has figured in all the Holy Book.
The history of Şanlıurfa is recorded from the 4th century BC, but may date back to 9000 BC. Urfa was conquered repeatedly throughout history and has been dominated by many civilizations. It has a very deep-rooted history and traces a wide range of cultural, religious and architectural remarks from the city past.
According to both the Bible and Quran, it is the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, now Palestine (recommended visit: the mosque complex surrounding Abraham's Cave). It was first in Sanliurfa that early Christians were permitted to worship freely, and the first churches were constructed openly. Pagan temples were converted to synagogues, synagogues to churches, churches to mosques, and this resulted in a unique eclectic architecture.
Şanlıurfa is a city of ancient traditions, friendships and mystical associations as bringing together people sharing the same pleasures, world views and ideas. Today, Urfa is a surprising mix of the Turkish, Arab and Kurdish population, with both peasants haggling in the traditional bazaar and also young technocrats and engineers in modern section. The city has an oriental atmosphere with a very rich cultural fabric reflecting many customs and traditions.
Harran, which is a town an hour away distance from the city center, is standing in the desert with its beehive-like dwellings and its great castle. You can visit Harran Fortress and the ruins of the mysterious Temple of Sin (known as the first university in the world. In Harran, don’t miss to see Gobekli Tepe, the oldest temple in the world and one of the most important archaeological sites nearby Urfa which changed everything we knew about the Stone Age people.
As the city of Urfa is such a deeply rooted in history, it has also a unique cuisine, an amalgamation of the cuisines of several civilizations that ruled in Urfa. The city is mostly famous for its very rich kebab culture made of lamb meat, fat, offal and hot.It is also widely believed that the city is the birthplace of many dishes including Raw Kibbé. According to the legend, it was crafted by Abraham from the ingredients he had in hand. Don’t miss to taste the bitter "Menengiç kahvesi" after diner as the most common hot beverages of Urfa.
The old trading centres, today serving as touristic bazaars, Kazzaz Bazaar, Sipahi Bazaar and Huseyniye Bazaars are worth to visit with an authentic value and local commodities, dresses, kilims etc. You can also meet many artizans of traditional handicrafts like felt making, tannery, stone working, weaving, woodworks, copper works, saddle making, fur making and jewelry works.