Sanliurfa Travel Guide

  • Sanliurfa
    by MM212
  • Roman stones, Dec 2012
    Roman stones, Dec 2012
    by MM212
  • Citadel of Urfa, Dec 2-12
    Citadel of Urfa, Dec 2-12
    by MM212

Sanliurfa Things to Do

  • Mevlevihane Bazaar

    This T-shaped market was once known as Kasap Pazari, or the Butchers' Market. After a renovation in 2006, it was renamed Mevlevihane Bazaar, either because it is facing Mevlevihane mosque, or because it was once owned the Mevlevi monastery which no longer exists.

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  • Mevlevihane Mosque

    This small domed and minaret-less mosque is all that remains from what was once a large monastic complex for the Mevlevi (Mawlawi in Arabic) Order, a sufi group introduced to Greater Syria by the Ottomans (both Aleppo and Kilis have similar buildings). The original complex occupied the entire surrounding market square, but when Sufi orders were...

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  • Sipahi Bazaar

    Specialising mostly in rugs, Sipahi Bazaar (Pazar in Turkish) is one of the more interesting parts of the Urfa souk to see for the visitor. Why not bring back a nice Anatolian kilim? Bargaining is necessary over tea, as in much of the Middle East! The tunnel-like structure was built in 1562 by Behram Pasha and is thought to have initially served as...

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  • Harran Gate

    Named after the (now ruined) city it faces south of Urfa, Harran Gate is the only surviving gate from the numerous gates that once pierced the walls surrounding the city. The gate probably originated with the founding of the city under the Seleucids, but the existing structure was built by the Romans and modified and restored over time. What...

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  • The Citadel - Throne of Nemrod

    The most prominent and famous feature within the Citadel of Urfa is the pair of standing Corinthian columns (known as the Throne of Nemrod). According to a Syriac/Aramaic inscription on one of the columns, they were erected around 240 AD as a monument by King Manu of Edessa from the Arabian/Nabataean Osroene dynasty that ruled the area for several...

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  • Modern Urfa

    The exponential growth in the population of Urfa in the past century, now estimated to be 1.8 million, made the city explode beyond its traditional borders (which ultimately preserved the old city). The result is the transformation of Urfa into a sprawling metropolis of non-descript concrete towers similar to those seen at many other Turkish cities...

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  • The Citadel of Urfa

    Overlooking the old city, the Citadel of Urfa is one of its most prominent monuments. Though inhabited for thousands of years before, it was in the Seleucid age that the Citadel was fortified into a defensive post. It was continually fortified and restored by later rulers, but the existing walls and moats are said to have been built by the Abbasids...

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  • The Citadel - Interior

    Apart from the views over the city and the prominent Corinthian columns, there is very little to see in the Citadel of Urfa. However, explorers with a sharper eye among us would be able to spot the many other Roman and later-period remains. Attached are a few photos.

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  • Old Urfa

    The historic centre of Urfa was built entirely from stone. It is quite large and contains innumerable mosques, palaces, caravanserais, and some churches. It is also where the fascinating souk of Urfa lies and where visitors would most likely spend all of their time. Although many old buildings have been replaced with ugly concrete structures over...

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  • Harassa Hamami

    Although there are numerous Turkish baths in Urfa - as one would expect - this one is the only one I came across. It is called Harassa Hamami and is located on the northwest corner of the Souk of Urfa. It is clearly of Ottoman construction and is recognisable by its wide dome and lack of other ornamentation outside. Unclear whether or not this was...

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  • Mansions of Old Urfa

    Though hard to tell from the narrow alleys, Old Urfa contains a large number of exquisite mansions. They lie beyond the high walls seen from the alleys, and the only glimpse of them comes in the form of the fortress like bay windows visible every so often from the streets. Much like elsewhere in the Levant, these mansions are centred around a...

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  • Balıklıgöl

    Fed by the natural spring Rohas (and which gave the city its semitic name ar-Ruha), Balıklıgöl is a large rectangular pool also known as Abraham's Pool. According to a local legend, this is where fire turned cool when the Prophet Abraham was thrown in to burn by the tyrant King Nemrod (a story recounted in the Koran). The pool was built...

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Sanliurfa Hotels

  • Hotel El Ruha

    Balikligol Yani Lekeler Cad., Sanliurfa, 63100, Turkey

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Solo

  • DEDEMAN SANLIURFA

    Ataturk Mah. Hastane Cad., Sanliurfa, 6300, TR

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

  • Hotel Arte

    Ataturk Bulvari Sinema Sokak, No:7, Sanliurfa, 63100, Turkey

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

Sanliurfa Restaurants

  • Hotel/Restaurant option near Grand...

    Pınarbaşı Konağı is another old mansion-turned-restaurant. It is located behind the Grand Mosque (Ulu Camii) and offers a convenient option for a meal or even a stay. It was closed when I walked past it so I did not get to eat here, but wanted to add it as an option for those visiting Urfa (or for my next visit one day).

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  • Another old mansion-turned-restaurant

    Located near Manici Hotel (and is part of the same establishment), Narli Ev is another old mansion turned restaurant. As we only had one evening in Urfa, we had to choose between Cehangir Ev and Narli Ev, both of which were reputable. We opted for the former, but I wanted to include a tip on Narli Ev for those who visit with more evenings to spare...

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  • Lahmajoon in Urfa's souk

    For those who don't know, Lahmacun (pronounced "Lahm-ajoon") can be loosely described as a "meatpie" or a "meat pizza". It consists of a thin round dough covered in meat (usually lamb) mixed with spices, baked in an oven, and then served rolled with parsley, onion, and dash of lemon. Urfa's souk has numerous bakers that make it, and I have to say...

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  • Aubergine Kebab in Urfa's Souk

    Urfa has rich culinary traditions and is famous for exporting to the wider region many of its signature dishes. One of them is the delicious aubergine kebab, seen in the attached photograph, which can be found at every eatery within the souk of Urfa. Do not hesitate to try it...

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  • Cevahir Konuk Evi: One of the best in...

    Located within the small hotel with the same name, Cevahir Konuk Evi is considered one of the best restaurants in Urfa all around. Not only does it serve excellent delicious local cuisine - such as a variety of Urfa Kebabs and the Urfa-style lahmajun (meat on flat bread) - but it has a beautiful ambiance in the covered courtyard of an ancient stone...

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  • Tea gardens and Lokantas in Golbasi

    The gardens surrounding Golbasi are a pleasant place to enjoy a cooling drink, during the heat of the day, or enjoy an evening meal. It's also good for people watching.During my daytime visits, i enjoyed glasses of hot sweet cay, which was quite refreshing. Cay is also the cheapest drink, coffee and soft drinks are available, plus the delicious...

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Sanliurfa Nightlife

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Golbasi park and pool.: Atmospheric outdoor dining

    by suvanki Written Aug 27, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Urfa didn't appear to have a lively nightlife culture- I think the main activity was eating, meeting with friends and family, and walking around Golbasi.

    My favourite evening was spent in Golbasi- arriving at dusk, I was entranced by the illuminated pool area, where small groups were strolling around the area enjoying the cooler night air. The call to prayer echoed around the pool as men hurried to the nearby mosque.
    I headed over one of the small stone bridges into the tea garden and lokanta area, where families were gathered eating, chatting and watching the videos playing under the moon lit sky.
    I chose a family lokanta- more relaxing for a lone female traveller!, and enjoyed a delicious meal (see my restaurant tip for more details)
    Although I felt quite safe wandering about by myself, I did get a taxi back to my hotel.

    Dress Code: Travelling around SE Turkey by myself, I felt more comfortable wearing lose cotton clothing that covered me i.e trousers or skirt and long sleeved blouse.

    Urfa is considered to be a holy city, with many pilgrims visiting the area.

    So, probably best to keep your skimpy shorts and tops for the beach resorts.

    Mossie repellent is a must too!

    Sacred Pool. Golbasi, Urfa
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Religious Travel

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Sanliurfa Transportation

  • Exploring Sanliurfa on foot-

    On foot is one of the best ways to see and experience Sanliurfa.The main sights are all located within easy reach in the old town. Walking is often the only way to get around the sites. On your way to 'the sights' you might see lots of things that you'd miss if you were in a taxi!So pack some comfy shoes (plus plasters- just in case), camera , a...

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  • From Sanliurfa to Göreme

    I took a night bus from Sanliurfa when I was going to Göreme. It was the bus going to Ankara so it dropped me in Aksaray. I had prepared for some hours wait but after 20 minutes I got a ride with a bus going to Sivas, past Göreme. I got the front site, next to the driver. It was the best place I could have as we were travelling east as the sun...

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  • To Sanliurfa from Mardin

    Just next to Otel Bilen there is a bus company office and there I bought the ticket to Sanliurfa for 10 000 000 TL. The bus left at eight in the morning from just outside the office. It was very convenient to be so close at the hotel. The bus ride to Sanliurfa otogar (bus station) took about 3 hours. It was the first time on the buses I took, that...

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Sanliurfa Local Customs

  • Urfa Pigeons

    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?!

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  • 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...

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  • Shoe Shine

    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...

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Sanliurfa Warnings and Dangers

  • Surprisingly conservative!

    We knew Urfa was conservative, but it was surprisingly so. Despite dressing in an appropriate manner for the ME (long skirts, loose tops with long sleeves), we (two reasonably pretty girls, early 20s) were stared at by the men A LOT (most of the time). With occasional attempts to be chatted up as well as followed. I'm not sure if this was because...

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  • woman traveler

    I'm not one of those people who are so centered and self evolved that they never experience culture shock, but I learned that a woman doesn't really venture out alone, it's considered savage it seems. After we checked into our hotel (I was with a family from Van, friends), after a full day of traveling by car, we went to a restaurant, to our own...

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  • Sanliurfa Hotels

    7 Hotels in Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa Off The Beaten Path

  • Taurus Mountains

    While driving from Urfa to Antep, we were able to catch a glimpse of the snow-covered Taurus Mountains on the horizon. It was a pretty sight, especially with the impressive snow cover in December. Beyond these mountains lies the UNESCO site of Mount Nimrut, which closes in winter due to snow.

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  • Nemrut Dagi

    The big stone heads on Nemrut Dagi has fallen of huge sitting statues of gods and king Antiochus I. Antiochus ruled the kingdom of Commagene between 64 - 38 BC and thought of himself as a god-king. At the top of Nemrut Dagi he ordered the construction of temples and an artificial mound of rocks. It is believed that the tomb of Antiochus lies...

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  • Atatürk Dam

    Atatürk Dam is one of the largest dams in the world. The run-off from the hugh reservoir that's been created generates a lot of energy and several irrigation tunnels distributes water for the plains to the south.I went on a tour from Sanliurfa to Nemrut Dagi. On the way we stopped at the dam and then we drove down to the Euphrates river, for the...

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Sanliurfa Favorites

  • Harran plain

    ÞANLIURFA Þanliurfa history can be traced to 9 thousand years ago, is seems like and museum city which city saint Abraham birth, saint Eyyüb lived and the Jesus Christ sanctified. It is unstoppable feeling of breathing 4000 years ago air while showing around the Harran, observing the productivity and plentifully created by Atatürk Dam water at...

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  • Feed the sacred fish in the...

    Feed the sacred fish in the pool surrounded by mosques. As the story tells it, Abraham was on the mountain (where the castle now stands) cursing the Pagan gods, when the god Nimrod hurled him into a large fire, but as he landed, the fire turned into a pool of water thus saving him, and the burning coals became the fish which now feed on all sorts...

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  • Spend the day wandering in the...

    Spend the day wandering in the old bazaar.Enjoy colorful gardens and refreshing pools. Ambiance, Mosques and coranic schools (medresa).

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Explore Deeper into Sanliurfa
Gölbaşı
Things to Do
Ex-Numune Mektebi
Things to Do
Arab Mosque
Things to Do
The Souk/Bazaar of Urfa
Things to Do
Hüseyniye Bazaar
Things to Do
Hussein Pasha Mosque
Things to Do
Ex-Church of Saints Peter & Paul
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Muhammed Muhyiddin Tomb & Sheikh Saffet Fountain
Things to Do
Shaban Khan (Şaban Hanı)
Things to Do
Abraham's Mosque (Halilürrahman Camii)
Things to Do
Nimetullah Mosque
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Haleplibahçe Museum Complex
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Eski Omeriye Camii (Old Omariya Mosque)
Things to Do
Gümrük Hani
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Roman Wall
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Grand Mosque of Urfa (Ulu Camii)
Things to Do
Naranji Mosque
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Hızanoğlu Camii
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Haji Lutfallah Mosque
Things to Do
Mençek Hanı
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Rizvaniye Mosque
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Dabakhane Mosque
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Hasan Pacha Mosque
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Mevlid-i-Halil Mosque
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Saladdin's Mosque (ex-Saint John's Church)
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Bedestan
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Firfirli Mosque (ex-Armenian Evangelical Church)
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Balıklıgöl
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Bedesten
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Bazaar
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Golbasi connecting Dergah
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Mevlidi Halil Camii
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Hazreti Ibrahim Halilullah
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Golbasi
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Bold Ibis Birds /Kelaynak
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Golbasi- The Sacred Pool
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Dergah- 2
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Dergah-
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The Bazaar
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Finding Your Way Around Urfa etc.
Things to Do

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