Stunning Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa Travel Blog

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Narrow streets and old houses, with a minaret in the shot too

People who contributed to and improved my trip:

I got into the bus terminal at Sanliurfa (The Prophets City, or Glorious Urfa) at 15.00, feeling quite exhausted after such a long day. According to the map it was less than a kilometre to walk to my hotel, so i decided that i could make this final push for the day. Not wanting to walk off blindly, i asked some locals which direction i needed to head in and was unanimously shown one road. I was supposed to be heading East into the City and as my shadow was cast directly in front of me, this seemed to be the right way. The roads i was crossing appeared to vaguely match the map, so i didn't bother asking again until about 20 minutes or so later, when i was told that i had been heading North instead of East! Bugger.

Fruit market
It ended up taking the best part of an hour to finally reach where i needed to be and i felt on the verge of collapsing.

Otel Dogu was listed as the cheapest option in the book and i expected to pay 15YTL ($10) a night. The receptionist was a grumpy old git and demanded 20YTL ($13), even if i stayed a number of nights, so i decided that i had best check the room first to make sure it was worth the money. At first glance it looked a bit gloomy and cold, but just about passable, so i made sure that there was hot water in the shower. At this point i was told that the shower was broken, then the guy turned on the hot water in the basin and after a few seconds told me that there was no hot water either. Ok then, this wasn't good, so i asked what price again and said i thought it was worth 10YTL maximum.
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from the Kale (Citadel)
“20TYL” came the reply, to which i laughed in his face and walked out. I didn't care if i had to pay 50YTL somewhere else, i was not staying in this shit pit for that money.

Having skimmed through a list of possible options i made up my mind to try Hotel Bakay that was nearby and sounded nice enough. The going rate here was 30YTL, but they knocked it down to 25YTL ($16), as i was staying a few nights. For this price i got an en-suite hot water bathroom, tv, central heating, breakfast and the crowning glory, free wi-fi - i was in heaven! My plan was to go out and get some food, but i was so exhausted that i just lay on my bed, watched some tv and used the internet for the remainder of the evening.

The following morning i was so shattered that i didn't even make it up for breakfast and left the Hotel around midday.
Archway leading to shops and Narinci Camii
I bought myself a kebab as i walked down to the main tourist areas and sat in the warm sunshine eating it. Having gobbled it down i took a peek at the 1849 Huseyin Pasa Camii and then Ulu Cami, which has stood there since 1170. Ulu Cami had a nice clock at the top of its tower, but i was already becoming somewhat board of Mosques, so i didn't stick around too long.

Having walked in Diyarbakir's old narrow streets, i was keen to do the same in Sanliurfa and found these to be just as charming, if not more so. I spent my time discovering Mosques, squares and a number of small curiosities that were dotted all around and also watching the people go about their every day lives. Not having a clue where i was when i exited the district, i decided to just walk where my mood took me, which was initially through a fruit market that was packed with Arabic traders.
The gardens at Golbasi with Rizvaniye Vafki Camii minaret in the background


Getting lost in Sanliurfa is actually part of the charm of the City and it turned out to be really enjoyable walking in the non tourist areas. People watched me walk by with a look of intrigue and everyone was polite and kind that i interacted with. I decided to stop in one shop to ask for some glue to try and fix my boot and the owner walked me down the street to a man who was sat in front of his shoe repair shop. The guy took my boot, sat me down and went to work and within 10 minutes it was better than new. When i tried to pay him for his time and work, he refused to take my money, so i left him with a hand shake and several 'teshekir edirims' - 'thank you’s'.

After some time i caught a glimpse of the Kale (Citadel) located up on the hill and followed a narrow steep alley that led up to the walls.
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Approaching the Citadel from this angle was great, as i got to follow the walls around until it finally opened up into stunning views over the City. I attempted to go inside but all the gates were locked, even though the times on the wall said it should be open until late. I asked two policemen who tried to help me, but they were also at a loss as to why it wasn't open, so we chatted about football for a bit and then i made a move.

Located in front of the Citadel were a number of interesting sites, which i spent the next few hours walking around. First there were two ponds (Balikli Gol & Ayn-i-Zeliha), that were filled with 'sacred carp' and these were set in tranquil gardens. From here i went to the Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi, where people fed the hungry carp in front of a stunning arched arcade and Mosque.
Produce in the bazaar
Also located here was the Halilur Rahman Camii, which was an interesting 13th Century Mosque, for its location as much as its architecture.

A two minute walk from here took me past palm trees, which at first seemed out of place, but when i reconsidered the warm December sunshine, it seemed to fit better in my mind. My next destination was to be the courtyard of the Hazreti Ibrahim Halilullah, which was dominated by the towering Mevlid-i-Halil Camii, a 13th Century Ottoman Mosque. Also in the area was a cave where it is thought that Prophet Abraham was born, although there really wasn't much to see.

I was starting to fall for Sanliufa, with only one exception � the children. These little monsters would follow you around and pester you non stop, for no apparent reason.
2 Arabic tobacco sellers
Sometimes they asked for money, but it seemed like their main aim was just to annoy you. Having put up with it for most of the day, i had finally had enough. When one group just wouldn't leave me alone, I came up with a new game plan to get rid of them. Rather than having them try to take the piss out of me, i would turn the tables on to one of them. I turned to the one child who was giving me most grief, pointed to his groin and made a small gap between my thumb and index finger, obviously symbolising that he had a small penis. This sent the other kids into fits of laughter and the child bright red, he had no come back to this. Soon after they left me alone!

Another funny thing that i find about Turkish people is that they don't realise that the word 'tourist' is universal.
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi, with Balikli Gol in front
So when i walk down the streets, i hear them whispering and when they say the word 'tourist', i turn, smile, nod my head and say 'tourist' back. This normally gives them the fright of their life, so i try to do this whenever the chance arises!

Now i am not usually a big fan of bazaars, in fact i positively dislike them most of the time, but something drew me into Sanliurfa's and i am very glad that it did. The shopkeepers were nice, it was interesting to watch the craftsmen go about their work and the building was also charming. A man selling tobacco invited me to sit down for tea with him and we chatted for a short time. People were keen to have their photos taken, and i emailed them on later like they requested.

I ended up in a courtyard called Gumruk Hani, where men sat around drinking tea and playing backgammon, dominoes and cards.
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi, with Balikli Gol in front
Children worked upstairs with their families and unlike the unruly mobs in the tourist areas, these were sweet and charming youngsters with a smile on their face. Clearly parental influence does make a difference. From here i wandered further into the bazaar and when i spotted a kebab shop that was brimming with people, i just had to go and try one. 1.5YTL ($1) bought a delicious chicken kebab and i could see why this place was the most popular in town.

The day was drawing to a close, so i ambled around waiting for it to get dark for an hour or so and then returned to Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi to take some photos whilst it was lit up. It looked stunning and whilst i didn't have my tripod, i did my best to keep a steady hand and i hope my photos do it justice.
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi, with Balikli Gol in front
I walked back to the hotel feeling really good about the City, which had left a positive impression in my mind. I spent much of the evening surfing the net and went out for some Dinner around 20.00, but i was still a bit sore from my trek up to Nemrut Dagi to want to do anything more strenuous.

The following morning i just made it down in time for a breakfast of eggs, ham, cheese, bread, jam, tea and some other bits and pieces too. It was a good start to the day and i decided that i would spend another night in the hotel as i liked it so much! After jumping in the shower i headed down to the bus terminal and caught a bus to Harran, where i had decided to go to on a day trip.

Deats says:
it was closed! just like the one in Antep today grrr!
Posted on: Dec 17, 2008
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Narrow streets and old houses, wit…
Narrow streets and old houses, wi…
Fruit market
Fruit market
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from the…
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from th…
Archway leading to shops and Narin…
Archway leading to shops and Nari…
The gardens at Golbasi with Rizvan…
The gardens at Golbasi with Rizva…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Produce in the bazaar
Produce in the bazaar
2 Arabic tobacco sellers
2 Arabic tobacco sellers
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Huseyin Pasa Camii
Huseyin Pasa Camii
Ulu Cami
Ulu Cami
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Ornate windows in the old part of …
Ornate windows in the old part of…
Nimetullah Camii Yapilis Tarihi
Nimetullah Camii Yapilis Tarihi
Nimetullah Camii Yapilis Tarihi
Nimetullah Camii Yapilis Tarihi
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Building in the old town
Building in the old town
Building in the old town
Building in the old town
Building in the old town
Building in the old town
Motorbike in front of a drinking f…
Motorbike in front of a drinking …
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Narrow streets and old houses
Crumbling house with a minaret in …
Crumbling house with a minaret in…
Mosque
Mosque
Man fixing my walking boot
Man fixing my walking boot
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
2 locals boys
2 locals boys
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from the…
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from th…
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from the…
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from th…
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from the…
A view of Sanliurfa, seen from th…
Mevlid-i Halil Camii with the foot…
Mevlid-i Halil Camii with the foo…
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel) and Mevlid-i Halil …
Kale (Citadel) and Mevlid-i Halil…
Kale (Citadel) with the Turkish fl…
Kale (Citadel) with the Turkish f…
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Gardens in Golbasi
Gardens in Golbasi
The area around Dergah
The area around Dergah
The gardens at Golbasi with Rizvan…
The gardens at Golbasi with Rizva…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medresesi
Sacred carp in Balikli Gol
Sacred carp in Balikli Gol
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Buildings around Balikli Gol
Buildings around Balikli Gol
Building around Balikli Gol
Building around Balikli Gol
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Halilur Rahman Camii
Halilur Rahman Camii
Kale (Citadel)
Kale (Citadel)
Ayn-i Zeliha with Mevlid-i Halil C…
Ayn-i Zeliha with Mevlid-i Halil …
Water wheel and palm tree in Dergah
Water wheel and palm tree in Dergah
Palm trees and Rizvaniye Vafki Cam…
Palm trees and Rizvaniye Vafki Ca…
3 shop owners in the bazaar
3 shop owners in the bazaar
Passageway in the bazaar
Passageway in the bazaar
Workshop in the bazaar
Workshop in the bazaar
Tobacco sellers who i shared a cup…
Tobacco sellers who i shared a cu…
Fabric shops in the bazaar
Fabric shops in the bazaar
Passageway in the bazaar
Passageway in the bazaar
Passageway in the bazaar
Passageway in the bazaar
Gumruk Hani
Gumruk Hani
Gumruk Hani
Gumruk Hani
Gumruk Hani
Gumruk Hani
Gumruk Hani
Gumruk Hani
mmmm Kebab
mmmm Kebab
Cutting the chicken
Cutting the chicken
Mosque
Mosque
Dancers outside Rizvaniye Vafki Ca…
Dancers outside Rizvaniye Vafki C…
Balikli Gol
Balikli Gol
Kale (Citadel) and Mevlid-i Halil …
Kale (Citadel) and Mevlid-i Halil…
Views out to the Kale (Citadel)
Views out to the Kale (Citadel)
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Halilur Rahman Camii
Halilur Rahman Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Building on Balikli Gol
Building on Balikli Gol
Building on Balikli Gol
Building on Balikli Gol
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medreses…
Rizvaniye Vafki Camii and Medrese…
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Mevlid-i Halil Camii
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Hal…
Courtyard in front of Mevlid-i Ha…
Sanliurfa
photo by: Deats