Sanliurfa Travel Guide

  • Sanliurfa
    by smirnofforiginal
  • Things to Do
    by smirnofforiginal
  • Things to Do
    by smirnofforiginal

Sanliurfa Things to Do

  • Balıklıgöl

    Beautiful and peaceful. The Ottoman-era Rızvanıze Mosque, built near the cave where the prophet Abraham was born, overlooks the pool where he was allegedly spared death. Known as Balıklıgöl (Pool of Sacred Fish), it is home to a thriving population of carp. Visitors drawn by the story of the prophet as well as the graceful...

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  • Bedesten

    This is the covered market which is in the centre of the bazaar. The bedesten was actually a caravanserai which sold silk.Right next to the bedesten is a beautifull courtyard which is the most wonderful place to chill away from the scorching sun and to grab a drink, meet up with friends, play some backgammon,,,There is even water that runs through...

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  • Bazaar

    For me this bazaar was much more fun than the Grand bazaar of Istanbul... the jumble of little streets, packed with more stalls and less neon lit shops.It was built in the 16th century and I hazard a guess that you could buy or acquire most items somewhere within the tangled streets.

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  • Golbasi connecting Dergah

    All around this area are parks, mosques and beautiful, mostly arcaded, courtyards.It is a peaceful place where people come to worship or spend quiet time with their families.The entire area is a photographers paradise and the people found to be nothing but friendly, gentle and (for a couple of camera shots) obliging. Families with children will...

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  • Mevlidi Halil Camii

    Sitting to the west of Abrahams cave is the Mevlidi Halil Camii (mosque). It is Ottoman in style and enjoys a very pleasant courtyard. It makes for a nice spot to try to catch a little shade...

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  • Hazreti Ibrahim Halilullah

    Prophet Abraham's Brith Cave is a place of pilgrimage. There are separate sections for men and women and women must be fully covered (cloaks are available if you are inappropriately dressed). There is not really a lot to see... it is a cave and inside the cave there is access to water which people were using to fill containers - it is said to be...

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  • Golbasi

    This is a beautiful, beautiful area... grounds, gardens, rose gardens and then the extremly long pools full of holy carp (fish). If you catch one you will go blind (legend has it) so you are much better settling for feeding them with the fish food that can be purchased for a few kurus.... keeps adults and children alike, happy!The story behind...

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  • Bold Ibis Birds /Kelaynak

    Birecik and the hills of Birecik is the main stop of this birds.They are coming from Ethiopia and Madagascar also visible in Morocco and Algeria .They come here every year and they are trying to survive .The local people accept them with a lot of care and the last samples of the world are under protection..I hope that the plans work ...

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  • Golbasi- The Sacred Pool

    This large rectangular pool is known as Abadur Rahman Havuzu, and contains hundreds of 'sacred' carp.It is claimed to have dated back to Abraham, or to have been built by King Abhar 1X. Legend has it that anyone who eats the fish will go blind! This has resulted in an over population of the fish , which are now believed to be...

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  • Dergah- 2

    These attractively decorated domed ceilings, are typical examples of Islamic architecture, being symetrical in design. They cover the open walkways, surrounding the courtyard of the mosque. For me, they provided welcome relief from the heat.Stall holders were selling religious scripts, books and cards etc.

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  • Dergah-

    Dergah is the area of Urfa south east of the sacred pools of Golbasi, which contains a complex of mosques and medreses This area is important for Muslim pilgrims, as the supposed birthplace of the prophet Ibrahim. Ibrahim or Abraham is an important figure in the Jewish and Christian faiths also.The Mevlid-i-Halil Camii (mosque) holds the tomb of...

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  • The Bazaar

    I found the bazaar in Sanliurfa to be one of the most fascinating that I'd visited during my years of visiting Turkey.Parts of this bazaar seemed unchanged from how I'd imagined life in biblical times to be. I seemed to have entered a living museum! The covered bazaar (Kapali Carsi ) remains virtually unchanged from Ottaman timesThe Gumruk Hani or...

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  • Finding Your Way Around Urfa etc.

    Unless the layout has changed drastically in the past 12 years, I found Urfa (OOR-fah) quite easy to get around. Most of the sights are in the old town ( The Bazaar, Golbasi (GURL-bah-shuh)-pool, Mosques and park, Dergah (dehr-GYAH)-for Prophet Abrahams birth cave, mosques and the tomb of Saint Dede Osman).These all are situated at the foot of...

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  • Balikli Gol

    According to the Bible and Quran it is the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, According to the legend the cruel King Nimrod, launched Abraham with a a catapult from the city's citadel and he fall into a pile of burning wood. Happily, God turned the fire to water and the woods to fish, and today, the visitor can visit the Halilul...

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  • Entrance to Golbasi

    This attractive gateway is the way to enter Golbasi. As you can see from the 2 pictures, the Kale is quite close, as is the new mosque in the foreground.In front of the gateway is a busy taxi rank and theres also a bus stop nearby.Hawkers and stall holders are usually to be found around the entrance too, but I don't remember them being too much of...

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Sanliurfa Hotels

  • DEDEMAN SANLIURFA

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

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

  • Hotel El Ruha

    Balikligol Yani Lekeler Cad., Sanliurfa, 63100, Turkey

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Solo

  • Hotel Arte

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

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

Sanliurfa Restaurants

  • 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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  • Cay Bahcesi

    In every city in Turkey there is a tea garden. Sometimes it is a place where only men sit and drink tea, sometimes a place were families come to have tea or something to eat.The picture is from the tea garden in Sanliurfa. It is full of people walking around in the parks or sitting down having tea, a cold drink or pide.

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Sanliurfa Nightlife

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    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:
    • Religious Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Food and Dining

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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

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    by suvanki Updated Jan 18, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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

    Shoe Shine man

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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

    6 Hotels in Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa Off The Beaten Path

  • 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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  • Harran, the oldest settlement...

    Harran, the oldest settlement in the world (well, maybe), lies between Sanli Urfa and the Syrian border. There are ruins of a castle, a mosque and an ancient university, but more interesting is the village which has grown on top of these...many of the houses are shaped like beehives. More pictures in the travelogue...

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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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