The city of Urfa (ancient Edessa), is identified as one of the richest historical and cultural places in Turkey. A history of more than 12,000 years. During the Turkish War of Independence in 1920s, Urfa acquired the title “Şanlı” meaning “glorious”. The title reminds us the glorious resistance against the Allied Forces. Hence, the city now possesses the name Sanliurfa.
Home of the Prophets
Firstly, Sanliurfa appears to be the site of Ur Kasdim, the hometown of Abraham according to main beliefs in the world. Due to this association to many religious scriptures, many call it the Jerusaleum of Anatolia. Sanliurfa is also the main pilgrimage city of the country. Throughout this district, we see mosques of distinct Islamic architecture, as well as a museum which safeguards many ruins scattered within and outside the surrounding of the city. Let’s discuss the major archaeological findings of this unique piece of historical land.
Inside the grand Sanliurfa district, a local legend states about a place which ought to be the birthplace of Prophet Ibrahim. While, King Nimrod feared a prophecy about the birth of a great leader. In the remembrance of the sacred site, Mevlid Halil Mosque was built. Earlier, the mosque contained numerous scarlet colored columns holding the structure and thus called as Scarlet Church. This mosque also serves as an important pilgrimage site for the faithful followers of Allah, going for hajj to Mecca.
The Twin Rivers; Ayn-ı Zeliha and the Halil-ür Rahman
Beside the Halil-ür Rahman Mosque, Balikligol laek lies in which Nemrut threw Prophet Ibrahim. The lake holds religious significance too. According to a legend, when Ibrahim landed in the fire God himself ordered the fire, “O fire, becool and secure to İbrahim.” The flames turned into fresh water and the burning logs into fish. Sacred carps inhibit the lake and apparently existed for centuries. Thus, the name of the lake translates as “lake of fish”.
Locals belief that spotting a white carp fish among all black carps is a sign of blessing. Moreover, there are two lakes within the city ; the Ayn-ı Zeliha and the Halil-ür Rahman. As Prophet İbrahim fought for his life with the monarch Nemrut, his step daughter pleaded and begged for the Prophet’s safety. When Prophet İbrahim fell into the fire, she cast herself into the fire. The place of her fall is remembered as “Ayn-ı Zeliha Lake“.
Other Archaeological Findings in Sanliurfa
The district of Harran inside the boundaries of Sanliurfa has historical importance. The oldest university in the region dating from the eighth century is evidently the deathbed of Ibrahim and his father. Also, the remains of Assyrian sacrificial ground are found in an area near Sanliurfa named as Sögmatar. A few miles away from the ancient city of Ur or Sanliurfa, Klaus Schmidt found an ancient religious ground of Go Göbekli Tepe. Historians believe it to be the world’s first religious or ritual site as it predates even the formation of the first cities in human history.
Discoveries of cultural and historical importance are unfolding the mysteries of grand city. Sanliurfa is a perfect location for people to witness the advancement of humans as a civilization.