Traditional pigeon keeping seems to be popular in Urfa and probably goes back many generations. We encountered several of these stalls with pigeons in the souk. One particular pink pigeon caught my eye! Was it coloured to be recognised or is this its natural colour?!
Fixing up old mansions
A large number of old mansions have survived the ravages of time in Old Urfa, and though very Levantine in character most of them have many architectural features unique to Urfa. Some are well preserved while others are crumbling, but when I visited in December 2012 I saw many encouraging restoration works of these mansions (see attached photo). I imagine some could be turned into hotels or restaurants.
In every Turkish city, town and most villages, you'll encounter at least one Shoe Shine man or boy.
I used to avoid them, until a few years ago in Istanbul, when I finally succumbed. A young boy patiently worked away on a pair of my leather sandals that had served me well over the years, and although as comfy as a pair of slippers, they were well past their sell by date, and heading for the bin at the end of my holiday.
However, this boy coaxed them back to life by painstakingly rubbing the polish in by hand, then buffing with a brush, then repeating the process twice more. I was very impressed by the effort and skill that he employed, with my sandals looking better than when I first bought them. He asked a very modest fee, and even when I gave him the same again as a tip, it was still only less than £1!
This man was quite a character, every time I passed by, he wanted to chat, or tell me the places I should be visiting. While he was polishing my shoes, he sent out for cay for me, and then wouldn't take any money!
He seemed to know everyone that was passing by!
Although his shoe cleaning kit wasn't as fancy as some (Some are very elaborate) he'd made an effort, by fixing artificial flowers and the Turkish flag to his!
So - take a seat, get Your shoes polished, have a chat, learn more about the country/ culture etc, and contribute a bit to the local economy