Using a shortcut from Diyarbakır, Urfa can be reached via Siverek and Hilvan. If you have time, we suggest you extend your travels somewhat to take in the exciting city of Mardin. This city called Marida in days of old, is very interesting with its buildings constructed of pastel colored natural stone. The city was built on a hill top affording a bird’s eye view of the Mesopotamian plain extending below. All of the homes have flat roofs, giving this city a typical South-Eastern Anatolian appearance. Of special note in the city are the Ulucami (Grand Mosque) and the Medresse which date from the eleventh century Saltık Principality. Ten kilometers out of the city is Deyrülzafara, the monestry of the Assyrian order. This complex is definitely worth seeing.
Urfa has been called “the city of prothets” This town has witnessed all of the history of Anotoli. Called “Edesse” in the time of Alexander the Great it was occupied by the Seljuk Turks in the eleventh century. It was ruled by for French counts during the Crusades and fell to the Ottomans in the sixteenth century. It was during this period that the name of the city was cahnged to ” Ruha”
It is believed that this city was the home of five different prothets and that the prophet Abraham was born in a cave in the city. The old fortress remaining to this day dates from the Crusades. The fortress is surrounded by moats on three of its sides, while the fourth is backed against a sharp cliff. The cave of the prophet is called today the “halil İbrahim cave” and local people believe the water in the cave is sacred.
This man made lake was formed by joining the Halil-ül Rahman and Ayn-El Zeliha lakes by canals. The carp which swim in the lake are believed to be sacred. The Halil-ül Rahman and Rızvaniye Mosques are also wort seeing.