"Harran" Harran by maykal
Harran Travel Guide: 12 reviews and 41 photos
As part of the whirlwind tour of SE Turkey, my Turkish friend dragged me off to Harran as a side-trip from Sanli Urfa. Having not slept for the best part of 36 hours, and having not really done Sanlu Urfa justice, I was reluctant at first, but half-asleep I agreed, and soon found myself waiting at the side of the road trying to flag down any vehicle heading south to Harran. We'd picked a silly time to visit, really, as it was the first day of Bayram...no buses, and all vehicles were full to the brim with children and sheep. Eventually we found a lift, although I think I was silently fuming at my partner at this point!
On arrival in Harran, we were accompanied by a local man who spoke some Arabic...what a relief that was! I had been experiencing a bit of culture shock since crossing from Syria...I was tired, confused, and didn't understand a single word of the language, even though there were many similarities with Syria. So to find someone who could talk to me directly without using a translator was nice! Harran lies close to Syria, so he spoke a dialect not dissimilar to Halabi Arabic, with a few local odd phrases...instead of saying "Shu ismak?" (what is your name), he asked "smak shu?", which confused me at first.
Anyway, enough of language talk...he led us to Harran's famous ruins. Reputedly the oldest settlement in the world, Harran used to be a famous centre of learning, something I would come to read about two years later as part of my dissertation on the history of medicine in the ME, but at the time I didn't really take much of it in.
The ruins were impressive, surrounded by green fields, but it was hard to tell exactly what they were. Our new "friends" (the local kids) didn't seem to know either, and LP was suitably vague. After exploring the remains of what was once an important city, we headed to the "new village".
Harran's modern architecture deserves a comment or two...the houses are built in the shape of beehives, round huts with conical roofs...I had never seen anything quite like it!
Our mission was to find a family that my partner had visited a few years before...not a difficult challenge, you might think, considering the size of Harran, but I hadn't bargained for her complete lack of direction!! After leading me through amny an alleyway saying "oh, this looks familiar", we were close to giving up when suddenly there it was, the house we'd been trying to find...right next to the ruins of the mosque where we had started our search! Despite initial confusion as to who we were, the family eventually remembered her and welcomed us like long lost friends. While my friend was dressed in traditional clothing, I was taken to the local mosque to be shown off to the neighbours!
Pictures and notes about my trip are all below in the travelogue...since the new VT has come about, I haven't had time to sort out my pages properly...I will do it one day, but who knows when that day will be!
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