Introducing Şanlıurfa (Urfa)
Şanlıurfa (the Prophets' City; also known as Urfa), is a pilgrimage town and spiritual centre. This is where the prophets Job and Abraham left their marks, and your first sight of the Dergah complex of mosques and the holy Gölbaşı area will be a magical moment – especially with the call to prayer as an essential soundtrack.
It's also in Urfa that you begin to feel you've reached the Middle East. Women cloaked in black chadors elbow their way through the odorous crush of the bazaar, and moustached gents in şalvar (traditional baggy Arabic pants) swill tea and click-clack backgammon pieces in shady courtyards.
Fuelled by investment in the nearby Southeast Anatolia Project, which combines irrigation projects and community development initiatives, a cosmopolitan sheen is now being added to Urfa's centuries-old heritage. The city's streets hum with an energetic buzz, and the nearby temple of Göbekli Tepe is emerging as one of eastern Turkey's unmissable destinations.