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Harran Travel Blog

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The famous Beehive houses of Harran

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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.

Young children in Harran pose for a photo
Now Lousy Planet claim that the children are so bad in Harran that you require a tour guide to help keep them away, or they will spoil your day. I was quoted 20YTL ($13) for their services, which they claimed was cheap, but i found this laughable. Even if it had been cheaper i wasn't going to pay someone to act as my bodyguard from children! As it turned out the guides were the only ones who hassled me in Harran, so nice tip off as usual from the LP!

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.
Harran Castle
I was invited for tea by some local guys, but i wanted to carry on as i wasn't sure how much time i would need to look around.

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.
Horse and cart plys the streets
Climbing up to the top, there were some nice archways remaining, but nothing that really captured my imagination. I descended to the foot of the walls and began to walk around, when i got my second introduction to the kids of Harran. A group of young girls ran up to me smiling and saying hello, but calling me 'Madam'. Now with my beard i don't think that says too much for the women there, if i resemble a madam! One child asked for 1YTL, i smile and said 'Sorry, no Lira' and she smiled back and said 'photo'. Sure, no problem, i took their photos and they were as happy as larry and ran off giggling.

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.
Sheep in front of a house that has the Turkey flag on
Ironically i saw two Turkish guys with a guide and they had two kids that wouldn't leave them alone, including the one who had just asked me for a Lira. The guide was barking at them to go away and this was only making the kids worse. So rather than a guide been of some help, to me it looked like the opposite.

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!

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The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
Young children in Harran pose for …
Young children in Harran pose for…
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Horse and cart plys the streets
Horse and cart plys the streets
Sheep in front of a house that has…
Sheep in front of a house that ha…
Sheep enters its house!
Sheep enters its house!
Apello Gate
Apello Gate
Turkey flag
Turkey flag
Ruins of ancient Harran, with Ulu …
Ruins of ancient Harran, with Ulu…
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Goats in front of the famous Beehi…
Goats in front of the famous Beeh…
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Horse in front of the famous Beehi…
Horse in front of the famous Beeh…
Horse in front of Ulu Cami
Horse in front of Ulu Cami
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
Goats in front of the famous Beehi…
Goats in front of the famous Beeh…
Goats in front of Ulu Cami
Goats in front of Ulu Cami
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
Inside of a crumbling beehive house
Inside of a crumbling beehive house
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Buiding at the top of Harran Castle
Buiding at the top of Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Youngsters pose for a photo
Youngsters pose for a photo
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Kids on a horse and cart
Kids on a horse and cart
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
The famous Beehive houses of Harran
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Sheep outside some beehive houses
Sheep outside some beehive houses
Harran Castle
Harran Castle
Harran
photo by: skippyed