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Area: 18.584 km² , Population: 1.443.422
The history of Sanlıurfa can be traced back around 9000 years and the atmosphere is one of living history, where traditional life, culture and even clothing is more akin to the Middle East with Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic all being spoken. Sanliurfa (often referred to as Urfa) is also a place of pilgrimage for many religions, containing what is thought to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. According to Jewish and Muslim scriptures, he was summonsed by god whilst living there.
The traditional and religious conservatism, combined with the ancient historical monuments, has also given it the name City of the Prophets and has made Urfa a unique place to visit. Away from the city, the ancient village and genuine living museum Harran with its famous bee-hive type houses, has been continuously inhabited for more than 6000 years.

By Road: Sanliurfa has an important highway route because of its location near Turkey’s southeastern borders with adjacent Arab countries, and it is also at the centre of GAP (the South-East Anatolia Project). From the main bus station to the west of the city centre, regular buses include Istanbul (24 hours), Malatya (7 hours), Erzurum (12 hours), Ankara (13 hours) and Diyarbakir (3 hours). There are also minibuses here.
By Rail: The nearest station is 50m south at Akcakale, just before the Syrian border and a few kilometres southwest of Harran.
By Air: The airport in Sanliurfa has direct flights to Ankara (daily) and Istanbul (2 weekly). There are service buses between the airport and the city.

- Dining on Cig kofte,
- Seeing the bee-hive houses of Harran,
- Sipping the special Urfa coffee (mirra),
- Visiting Atatürk Dam,
- Feeding the carp at Balikli lake,
- Spotting the bald ibis (kelaynak) at Birecik.
- Shopping in the Kapali çarşi (bazaar).

This simple village, 15km north of Suayb and 73km from Sanliurfa, is famous for its cave temple which was probably constructed during the 2nd century and used to worship the god of the moon, which was a deep-seated culture of Harran. The village, now in ruins, was the cultural centre of the god Marilaha and there was an open-air temple for praying and sacrificing animals. The temple walls contain Syriac writing and reliefs of human figures. On the rocks on the hill to the west of the castle, there are more figures of gods and ancient writings.

The historical settlement of Harran, 44km south of Sanliurfa, was mentioned in the Old Testament as the place where Abraham lived before going to Canaan. Islamic historians connect the area to the grandson of the prophet Noah, and also Aaron (Harran) the brother of Abraham. Har-ra-na was mentioned in ancient inscriptions found in Kultepe and Mari dating back to 2000 BC, and also stone tablets found in northern Syria.
Traders used to stay in Harran, which gave the region close commercial relations with Anatolia, and for many centuries it was on the flourishing trade route between Mesopotamia and Anatolia which enabled a rich and diverse culture to infiltrate the area. The ancient town was also famous as an important centre of Mesopotamian idolatry, and its followers believed the sun, moon and planets to be holy which meant that the science of astronomy was well developed here.
The beehive houses of Harran were probably designed in the 3rd century BC, and the site is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited place in the world. Today, few people actually live in the huts and those that remain were built as recently as 200 years ago. The kale (fortress) stands on the eastern side of the hill, and was originally built during the Hittite period and restored by the Crusaders. Its eastern gate still shows the carvings of chained dogs. The 4km long wall, most of it crumbling, has 187 towers and the remains of a 10-sided tower, and plenty of ruins to explore.

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