Introducing Şanlıurfa (Urfa)
Mystical and pious Şanlıurfa (the Prophets’ City; also known as Urfa) casts a spell on anyone who visits this great pilgrimage town, one of the greatest religious and historical sites in Turkey – it’s light years away from nearby Gaziantep in this respect. It also has a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour, courtesy of its proximity to Syria. Women cloaked in black chadors elbow their way through the odorous crush of the bazaar streets; moustached gents in şalvar (traditional baggy Arabic pants) swill tea and click-clack backgammon pieces in a shady courtyard; pilgrims feed sacred carp in the shadows of a medieval fortress… If you’re after touches of exoticism, you’ll be amply rewarded here. Urfa also has its share of the mundane – out on the highway the traffic is noisy and unruly, and the suburbs are disfigured by the ubiquitous concrete eyesores. Regardless of this, it’s a must-see for any visitor to the southeast.
Şanlıurfa (Urfa) destination guides
Eastern Turkey Adventure
Spectacular mosques, rustic Armenian churches and towering stone castles reward those willing to get off the beaten path. From ancient mud brick cities to exotic bazaars and the mysterious fallen stone heads at Nemrut Dagi, this 8-day trip is Turkey at its most fascinating.
Historically rich with its medieval Ottoman period and chronicle of Gallipoli, and fashionably chic with the cosmopolitan buzz of Istanbul and the celebrity getaway of Antalya, Turkey is an unmissable country overflowing with character, where Noah’s Ark (allegedly) landed, Santa Claus originated and Hemingway was inspired.