Legend claims that the Prophet Abraham (father of the three major monotheistic religions) was confronted by Nimrod, the local Assyrian king, while destroying pagan idols. Nimrod had Abraham immolated on a funeral pyre but God turned the fire into water and the burning coals into fish. Abraham was hurled into the air from where the castle stands, landing safely in a bed of roses. Urfa's picturesque Gölbaşı area of fish-filled pools and rose gardens is a symbolic recreation of this story.
Two rectangular pools of water, Balıklı Göl and Ayn-i Zeliha, are filled with supposedly sacred carp, while the area to the east is planted with blooming rose gardens. Local legend has it that anyone catching the carp will go blind.
On the northern side of Balıklı Göl is the elegant Rızvaniye Vakfı Cami & Medresesi, with a much-photographed arcaded wall, while at the western end is the Halilur Rahman Cami. This 13th-century building, replacing an earlier Byzantine church, marks the site where Abraham fell to the ground. The two pools are fed by a spring at the base of Damlacık hill, on which the castle is built.