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Dubbed as the Prophet’s City, Sanliurfa or simply Urfa is well-known to be a pilgrimage spot and a spiritual destination in Turkey. The place is inhabited mainly by a population of Kurdish, Turkmen, and Arab individuals. Sitting on a plain 80 kilometres east of the Euphrates River, the capital of Sanliurfa Province can have a scorching hot weather and a refreshing cool winter. The place is also where prophets Job and Abraham made their marks in history with the latter claimed to have been born in a cave in this city. Thousands of Muslim pilgrims visit the cave yearly and also hop to the numerous mosques found in the area. Because of its rich religious history, Sanliurfa is said to be the most interesting city in the south-eastern region of Turkey.

What to see & do

The archaeological site Göbekli Tepe is one of the major tourist destinations in Sanliurfa located on top of a mountain in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. Also called the “Pot Belly Hill”, it was first unearthed in 1995 with its circle of Neolithic megaliths estimated to have existed from 9500 BC. Tourists will be greeted with wooden walkways on the site which will take you to centuries-old stone pillars carved with the images of lions, foxes, and vultures. Edessa Mosaic Museum is another highlight of a trip to Sanliurfa since the structure awes people with its modern domed architecture. Discovered only in 2006, the place showcases detailed mosaics of Amazon warrior queens and also features the life of Greek hero Achilles. For people wanting to explore historic and religious culture of the city, the Dergah complex of mosques and parks provides a worship place for visiting tourists. On its southern side, one can find the entrance to the cave where Abraham was reportedly born. Other equally remarkable points of interest in Sanliurfa also include the Urfa castle, the ruins of the ancient city walls, the eight Turkish baths built during the Ottoman period, the Temple of Nevali Cori, and the traditional Urfa houses.

How to get around within Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa has a fleet of minibuses which circles the entire city but tourists can easily go around the destinations by foot as most of the attractions are located very near each other.

How to get there

The airport that serves the city of Sanliurfa is Sanliurfa GAP Airport, located in Golge, approximately 34 kilometres or 21 miles northeast of Sanliurfa. Also known as GAP Airport, it is part of the South East Anatolia Project (Guney Dogu Anadolu Projesi in Turkish, or GAP Project) in the Ataturk Dam, and caters to the workers in the GAP Project. Airlines that provide flights to the airport include Onur Air, Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Turkish Airlines operated by AnadoluJet. Sanliurfa GAP Airport receives flights from Istanbul-Ataturk, Istanbul-Sabiha Gokcen, Izmir, and Ankara.

Other ways to get to the city are buses which arrive at and depart from the Otogar or the intercity bus terminal which connects Sanliurfa to other cities in Turkey like Adana, Istanbul, Malatya, and Van, among others. People can also reach the place through taxi cabs but this will cost more compared to bus transport.

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