Don't believe your Lonely Planet!
Harran Travel Blog› entry 482 of 658 › view all entries
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Located only one hours drive from Sanliurfa, Harran makes a perfect day trip from the City. Widely regarded as one of the oldest inhabited places on Earth, the town boasts an impressive History that includes a mention in the Bible. Famous residents included Abraham and Jacob and later on the Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders and Mongols all occupied the territory for some time. Today there is a distinctly Arabic feel around the town, which is divided into a new and old section.
The dolmush dropped me off in town and the cry of 'tourist' went out, which brought the tour guides flocking towards me.
Entering the old town through the large Apello gate, i followed the modern road up and over a hill, where a Turkish flag billowed in the wind. Up at the top were some excavated sections of a City from 5000 years ago and down to the left was the ruined Ulu Cami. I wandered down to have a look at what was left of the 8th Century Mosque, which included an imposing minaret and some nice archways.
Crossing a field that was dotted with rubble, my only company was that of goats, a horse and a fearsome young girl who said 'hello' and waved - now i was wishing I'd paid the $13 as i was so petrified, what a monster! A couple of hundred metres further along and i reached the first of the towns interesting beehive houses. Whilst most of these date from the 19th Century, the concept possibly goes back as far as the 3rd Century BC. There was a real rustic feel about the place, with animals roaming the streets, horses and carts preferred to motor vehicles, bricks crumbling into dust and litter strewn everywhere.
The other main attraction in Harran was its Castle, which was possibly constructed by the Hittites, but certainly rebuilt by the Fatimids in 1059.
Further around the walls some children played football in front of two impressive corner towers and from here i walked randomly around some smaller streets. Some people on horse and carts stopped for their photos and one other child asked me for a Lira and when i said no, he smiled and ran off.
After two hours of looking around i was content with what i had seen and was ready to make my way back to Sanliurfa. I spent my evening hooked to my laptop and i began to realise that having wi-fi in my room was just about as unproductive as it gets! I did however manage to hand wash some clothes, which i truly despise doing, but i hadn't seen a laundry shop in days, so i was left with little choice.
Anyway, back to the point! I would say that whilst Harran's History alone warrants a visit, i wasn't really blown away with what was on offer here. I'd say that its worth a trip if you are in Sanliurfa, but not worth coming out of your way to see. Maybe its just that i have been spoiled with so many other World class sites in the last two weeks that i have begun to expect too much! Nevertheless it was a good day amongst the best children i have so far encountered in Turkey!