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Sanliurfa
Şanlıurfa is the capital of the province which bears its name.According to both the Bible and Quran it is the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, now Palestine. Local Muslim legend differs from that of the other great monotheistic faiths by the intervention of one vicious and cruel King Nimrod, who had Abraham launched from a catapult from the city's citadel to fall into a pile of burning wood. Happily, God intervened, and turned the fire to water and the faggots to fish, and today, the visitor to the town can visit the mosque complex surrounding Abraham's Cave and The Pool of Sacred Fish (Balikligöl) around it. The cruel ruler's giant slingshot is represented by two Corinthian columns still standing atop the citadel.

This is an Anatolian city which has figured in all the religions of the book. Old Testament prophets such as Jethro (Hz. Suayp), Job (Hz. Eyup), Elijah (Hz. Elyasa) and Abraham (Hz. Ibrahim) lived in this city, which in ancient times known as Edessa, and Moses (Hz. Musa) lived in the region for seven years working as a shepherd before returning to Egypt with his staff. It was in Sanliurfa that early Christians were first permitted to worship freely, and where the first churches were constructed openly. Pagan temples were converted to synagogues, synagogues to churches and churches to mosques, resulting in a uniquely eclectic architecture.

Şanlıurfa includes several major components of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (in Turkish Güneydogu Anadolu Projesi (GAP)) designed to:

exploit the hydropower potential of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers;
dramatically expand irrigation for agriculture; and
develop the economy of the region.

This very large-scale, state-sponsored development project involved the damming, redirecting, hydroelectric tapping and other utilization of rivers in this broad, semi-arid region. (The rivers then flow into Syria and Iraq). The GAP project includes 22 dams, hundreds of miles of irrigation works.

Even before GAP, Şanlıurfa Province had the largest share of cultivated and cultivable land in the GAP region, due to its flatness and highly fertile, agricultural land. The Şanlıurfa and Harran Plains extend over an area of about 1,500 km² (579 sq. miles). Irrigating these plains is one of the most important components of GAP.

Today, Urfa is a surprising mix of the old and new, with Turkish, Arab and Kurdish peasants who come from the countryside haggling in the traditional bazaar, while young technocrats and engineers hustle between offices and shops lining the modern downtown section.

Sanliurfa Fortress is on the northern slope of Damlacik mountain to the south of the city. The citadel built by the Romans was later enlarged. The citadel has 25 watchtowers. It has remains from the Byzantine and Islamic times. The walls were built in 812 AD by the Christians to defend the city against Arab raids. The outer fortress was enlarged and restored by the Crusaders. The palaces of Molla, Gezer Pasha and Mehmet Pasha known to exist between the citadel and the outer fortress could not survive to our times.

Sanliurfa Fortress is on the northern slope of Damlacik mountain to the south of the city. The citadel built by the Romans was later enlarged. The citadel has 25 watchtowers. It has remains from the Byzantine and Islamic times. The walls were built in 812 AD by the Christians to defend the city against Arab raids. The outer fortress was enlarged and restored by the Crusaders. The palaces of Molla, Gezer Pasha and Mehmet Pasha known to exist between the citadel and the outer fortress could not survive to our times.

The old trading centre of Sanliurfa dating back to Ottoman times concentrate around Gumruk Inn. Kazzaz Bazaar which was build in 1562 is one of the few which could preserve its authentic values. Inside the bazaar, shops one meter (three feet) high from the ground are located on both sides of the inner passage. The Kazzaz shopkeepers sell local male and female dresses. Sipahi bazaar also preserves its identity and sells such goods as carpet, kilims and felt. Huseyniye bazaars each of which are covered by 15 cross vaults have been allocated to the coppersmith.


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Kesit Tourism and Travel Agency
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