Sanliurfa is relatively unheard of yet it’s full of history and beautiful places. Here are a few things to do in Sanliurfa Turkey;
- Potbelly Hill – Gobekli Tepe
- Pool of Abraham – Balikligol
- Archaeology Museum
- Sanliurfa Castle
- Haleplibahce Mosaic Museum
- Sanliurfa Souk
- Excellent Turkish Cuisine
- Rock Tombs
Hotels in Sanliurfa are excellent value. In fact, you can stay in a 5 star hotel here for the price of a hostel in London!
Potbelly Hill – Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe is an archaeological site on the outskirts of Sanliurfa. It features the oldest megaliths in the world. Yes, its history predates, Stone Henge in London, the Walls of Jericho, the Pyramids of Egypt and also the Megalithic Temples of Malta in Gozo. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, this structure was built on a man made hill approximately 15 meters high. Simply put, this is the oldest monument on earth and you must take the time to arrange a visit when in Sanliurfa.
Once upon a time, the biblical figure Abraham lived in Sanliurfa. Muslims believe Balikli Gol is where Abraham was thrown into the fire by King Nimrod. One of the reasons for this death sentence was his love interest for the kings daughter. At the moment Abraham was thrown into the water, Allah turned the fire into water and wood into fish. Today, this is the Pool of Abraham and the fish depend on food from pilgrims to live. For this reason, you’re encouraged to feed the fish.
Pool of Ayni Zeliha
Both pilgrims and tourists can hire a boat through these sacred waters. In addition everyone is welcome to view the stunning Mevlid-I Halil mosque.
Sanliurfa Archaeology Museum
A visit to the archaeological museum is a must in a city which boasts the oldest monument on earth. Additionally, the brand new spacious museum is a wonderful place to escape the heat as you learn all about the past of this history rich area.
Of course, Sanliurfa museum has a special section on Gobekli Tepe. As a matter of fact, a visit here complements your visit to Gobekli Tepe because of all the information about it. Furthermore, there’s also an interesting section on the Islamic period in the area.
Mosaic Museum – Sanliurfa Turkey
The huge mosaic museum is adjacent to the archaeology museum and you can buy a joint ticket. As a result it makes sense to visit them both. The famous mosaic in this museum is the Orpheus mosaic. It was originally stolen and taken to Dallas, Texas. However, it was recently brought to Sanliurfa Turkey where it’s proudly on display.
As you admire the well kept mosaics on display, look out for a rare Jesus mosaic. Why not visit the largest mosaic museum in the world in nearby Gaziantep? Alternatively, check out the mosaics in the rock tombs opposite.
Take a walk up to Sanliurfa castle for panoramic views over the city. The castle has not been restored, as a result it’s a ruin. For me, I prefer to see a ruin as opposed to a brand new reproduction. About its history, the castle dates back to the 9th century.
Sanliurfa souk offers a true Turkish market experience. The reason for this is there are very few tourists in the area. As a result, the majority of visitors are locals. This is also good for value as vendors tend not to overcharge like they do in Istanbul. Never the less, you must bargain with them. Finally, for photographers there is plenty of color and action to keep you occupied for hours.
Throughout Sanliurfa souk and of course throughout the city there are many restaurants serving delicious food. Obviously, kebab meat is a popular food. But the freshly prepared salad and vegetable dishes are also worth a try. Lastly, you may be wondering what the frothy white drink is on the right of my picture. This is in fact a very frothy Turkish ayran.
Yet another major attraction in Sanliurfa are the 133 rock tombs. These date back to the Edessa Kingdom which was over 2000 years ago. They’re also incredibly easy to get to as they are in the middle of town. Moreover, it’s claimed to be the largest Necropolis in the world. Some of the tombs feature well preserved mosaics.
A photo with the Sanliurfa sign is a must to remember your visit to this historic city.
Instagram Worthy Spots in Sanliurfa Turkey
For me, the top Instagram spot was around the archaeology museum. None the less, throughout the souk as well as around the Pool of Abraham are also incredibly photogenic. Don’t forget, you can take endless shots in and around the cave entrances.
How to get from Sanliurfa to Diyarbakir
There are several buses each day between Sanliurfa and Diyabakir. For this reason, you can simply show up at the bus station and catch the next bus. The journey east takes between 2-3 hours.