Located in southeast Turkey, Şanlıurfa is one of the most beautiful cities where Anatolian culture is felt most deeply. It started to be known as “the City, which saved itself” in the War of Independence thanks to the spirit of national struggle. Then, the Turkish Grand National Assembly decided, in 1984,
to recognize the city with the title “Şanlı” (Glorious) and change its name to Şanlıurfa.
One of the oldest settlements in the world that also hosted the world’s first universities, Şanlıurfa is also a very important center for monotheistic religions. Prophet Abraham was born in Şanlıurfa. The city is also known as the “City of the Prophets” as many other prophets, including Prophet Eyyüp and Prophet Jesus lived here. Unearthed in archaeological excavations in Şanlıurfa, the world’s oldest and 12-thousand-year old sculpture, is exhibited in Şanlıurfa Archeology Museum, the Turkey’s fifth largest museum based on the number of works. In addition, Şanlıurfa still remains the site requiring the highest number of archeological excavation in the world with the world’s oldest archaeological temple, Göbeklitepe, and many protected sites identified to date back to the same period.
Balıklı Lake is Şanlıurfa’s most touristic point and has long become the symbol of the city. The lake is known as the place Prophet Abraham fell into when he was thrown into the fire. Thousands of people visit it every year. There are many mosques and religious places to be seen around Balıklı Lake including Halil-ür Rahman Mosque. The city’s most significant and visited spots include Harran Plain, Urfa Castle, Atatürk Dam, Halfeti and Gümrük Caravanserais. The people of Urfa, who undertook a crucial struggle in history, continue to show the Turkish hospitality in its best form the visitors from many locations of the world with their honest and sincere approach.
Şanlıurfa is also the point of origin for the Turkish cuisine’s most delicious food. As a matter of fact, the world famous kebab is named after it led the way for many other Anatolian flavors. Created by the people themselves, the “Sira Nights” have an important place in the city’s folk culture and this tradition has lived up to date. The city’s settlements, structure and geographical beauty are beautiful enough to feature in many Turkish folk songs, and they are enjoyed during “sira nights.”
The city looks like almost a museum with its history and many other richnesses. Şanlıurfa, which has offered all these features in the best way until today continues to attract the attention of domestic and foreign tourists.
by SINAN YESILTAS