Şanlıurfa is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is one of the top 10 largest cities in Turkey with 13 districts. Its biggest district is Siverek. Şanlıurfa is located in the south and shares a border with Syria. There are four districts that are neighboring the border: Ceylanpınar, Akçakale, Suruç, and Birecik.
Its total population is approximately 2,000,000 (two million). Agriculture and animal husbandry are widespread. The Harran plain is quite fertile in terms of soil and suitable for agriculture. The Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) has largely met the region’s agricultural water needs.
Throughout history, Şanlıurfa has been revered as a sacred area, and it has successfully managed to preserve its unique culture and thousands of years of history up to the present day.
The Şanlıurfa province, located in the Southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey, holds an important place in terms of history. The oldest known statue in history was found near the Balıklı Lake in 1995. There is a statue of a man who is believed to have been a sacred creature during the Neolithic period, and it is approximately 12,000 years old. Şanlıurfa is considered one of the world’s oldest religious centers.
Şanlıurfa has hosted many civilizations throughout history and is currently home to many people from diverse ethnic cultures. The Balıklı Lake, which has become a symbol of Şanlıurfa, is a must-see place. Şanlıurfa-specific “Sıra” nights are also held. The Balıklı Lake, located in the city center, has been visited since the time of Prophet Abraham. Urfa, which took the title of “Şanlı” with the struggle for liberation in the past, has many historical places to visit besides the Balıklı Lake. Göbeklitepe, belonging to the Neolithic period and declared as the 2019 Göbeklitepe Year, is important because it is the first temple in the world and can be the center of the first belief system on earth. There are about 20 temples in this region.
The district of Halfeti, located in the west of the city center, has great tourism importance. It is like a paradise submerged under water and welcomes thousands of tourists every year.
Located to the south of Şanlıurfa, Harran district is home to the Harran Houses, which are a must-see attraction with their unique architecture. The houses, with their cone-shaped domes made using the overlapping technique, provide a natural cooling effect that makes the summer heat of Şanlıurfa barely noticeable inside the dome houses. As a result, these houses attract a lot of attention from both local and foreign tourists. In 1979, the Harran region was declared an archaeological and urban conservation area, resulting in the dome houses being placed under protection.
The cuisine of Şanlıurfa also holds a very special place on the world stage. Urfa pepper is an indispensable part of every dish. Çiğ köfte (raw meatballs) has been a favorite flavor of Urfa since the time of Prophet Abraham. In addition to Çiğ köfte, Urfa kebab is also famous. Those who want to visit Şanlıurfa should definitely try the local cuisine.
Don’t leave Urfa without shopping at its historic bazaar, eating Urfa kebab and experiencing Sira nights.