"Sanliurfa - 'Glorious Urfa'" Top 5 Page for this destination Sanliurfa by suvanki

Sanliurfa Travel Guide: 107 reviews and 345 photos


Sanliurfa was one of my favourite experiences during my travels in 1993.
My 3 days here were spent exploring the town (The bazaar, Golbasi (the complex of mosques, tea gardens and sacred pool), Abrahams birth cave, and the mosques)
with 1 day being spent on a long awaited trip to Nemrut Dag, and an afternoon spent exploring Harran.

Although my visit was 12 years ago, I'm sure some of my tips will still be relevant for travellers planning a visit .

Sanliurfa province is the largest in SE Turkey, 18,584 square km's. of land stretching from the Syrian border, to Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, and Mardin.

Its' population is roughly 40% Kurdish, 40% Arabic and 20% Turkish.
This is reflected in the language and dress of the inhabitants of Urfa, and the food served in the lokantas and restaurants.

The Euphrates- Tigris basin has provided the inhabitants with fertile soil , which means that Agriculture and Livestock are the prime industries, with cereals such as Wheat, barley and lentils being the main cash crops. Chickpeas and pistaccio nuts also grow in abundance. Cotton and sesame provides further income for growers and manufacturers of these products.

The South - East Anatolia Project (GAP) has provided irrigation and hydro electricity, bringing further opportunities for expansion of these and other industries.

Although Urfa attracts tourists and pilgrims, it is not a major tourist centre -(but this could change!). It is on the coach tour route, with most visitors stopping overnight, before or after visiting Nemrut Dag/ Harran or the nearby towns of Gazientep/ Diyarbakir/ Mardin etc.
Public buses pass through Urfa frequently en route to / from the main towns of the area.

Some History-

Urfa's history records many changes in occupation, due to its' location- being at the crossroads for access to Europe, Asia, Arabia and Africa.

Settling conquorors have included the Ebla, Akkads, Sumerians, Babylonians, Hittites,Huri- Mittanis, Assyrians, Kendani, Med-Persians, Macedonians,Selevaids, Syriacs, Aranaegeans, Osrhoenes, Romans, Sassaids, Byzantines, Crusaders, Eyyibis, Seljuks and Ottamans!

Along with changing ownership, have been many changes in name-
Hurri- under the Hurrite-Mitanni

Aramaeans then set up an independent kingdom known as Orhai, or Orhoe
This then changed to Edessa after Alexander The Great had passed through, and the land fell to Seleucid rule until 132BC

Edessa, named after the Macedonian city, remained in use until 1637, when the conquoring Ottomans called the city Urfa.

Following the declaration of Turkish Independence, and in recognition of the heroic efforts of the citizens in resisting French invasion, Kemal Mustafa Ataturk bestowed the title of Sanliurfa on the town (meaning Glorious or Honoured).

Urfa- City of the Prophets.

Urfa has long been associated with religious importance.
to be continued.....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Historical / Biblical sites. A different aspect to Turkey!
  • Cons:Hot and dusty.
  • In a nutshell:Well Worth a visit!
  • Last visit to Sanliurfa: May 1993
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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