The pampered carp of Urfa.

Sanliurfa Travel Blog

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Our hotel.
Our drive from Mt. Nemrut to Sanliurfa (which also goes by its old name, Urfa, which is also faster to type) was quick and uneventful. And although Urfa is not a small town, we somehow managed to drive right to the hotel. Luck! We checked in to El Ruha (a pretty unremarkable place), and then headed out after a bit to explore the town. The hotel didn’t really have what you’d call a map (just a strange diagram with no words on it), so we were kind of on our own.  

First thing we did was find lunch at a place with a nice terrace and a view of old Urfa Castle. It was really hot out but the breeze and shade made it quite tolerable. The prices seemed so much lower then what we've seen elsewhere. I guess because it’s much less touristy than Cappadocia.
Spices for sale.
I ordered a salad that was under $1 -- it was small so I had another. Still, very cheap! Steve had pide, a sort of Turkish pizza.

Fortified, we walked through the bazaar, where locally made copper pots were being sold, as were other useful household, food, and clothing items. This was not a “bazaar” set up for the sake of tourists…this is where the locals do their shopping. So much more interesting than, say, WalMart.

Conveniently, we were very near a large park area that is home to several of Urfa’s sites and Balikligol, or the Pool of Sacred Fish, which was our next stop. The protected and very well fed carp were practically climbing out of the water for the handfuls of special food (available for purchase, of course) that people were tossing in.
This kid is sure to need therapy someday.
Carp are hideous, especially in a feeding frenzy. There were no handrails on the pool and I was very careful to stay away from the edge … if I had fallen in I think the slimy things would have gobbled me right up, too!

After “admiring” the sacred carp, we spent some time strolling through the park. There was a small lake and pools, several picturesque old mosques, and shady trees. It was busy with locals, but not crowded… a really nice atmosphere. We had tea at a shaded café and relaxed and enjoyed being out of the sun.

For dinner, we braved driving through town to find a restaurant recommended by Fodor’s. Our good luck held out: we found it without a problem. Urfa Sofrasi’s menu was all in Turkish, so I ordered the only thing I knew: pide, that Turkish pizza.
Local character.
It was huge and loaded with cheese, so I ended up taking most of it home. It will be our lunch tomorrow. Steve had kebab, which was served with huge sheets of flat bread. He wrapped the meat up along with vegetables for a sort of Turkish taco. They also served us an interesting soup,  yogurt with chickpeas and wheatberries. It tasted better than it sounds…I really liked it (Steve didn’t care for it).  

A lone lady came in for dinner while we were there. She was obviously not a local (I think Italian), as she was about 6-feet tall and wearing a semi cropped top that showed a sliver of back and stomach. Every man in the place stopped eating to stare at her, which they continued to do as she ordered and then as she ate. She seemed unphased by the scrutiny. I had also felt myself being stared at in the park (and no, I wasnt wearing a cropped top)… I don’t think they get very many foreigners here in Urfa.  

We will stay here in Urfa just this one night. Tomorrow is another drive to another town -- Gaziantep. Til then… Allahaismarladik!

reikunboy says:
It's so nice to be out and about exploring where very few traveller's go.
Posted on: Jul 09, 2008
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Our hotel.
Our hotel.
Spices for sale.
Spices for sale.
This kid is sure to need therapy s…
This kid is sure to need therapy …
Local character.
Local character.
Our room at El Ruha.
Our room at El Ruha.
Our hotel, El Ruha.
Our hotel, El Ruha.
View of Urfa Castle from our lunch…
View of Urfa Castle from our lunc…
View of Urfa Castle and a mosque f…
View of Urfa Castle and a mosque …
Urfa shopping.
Urfa shopping.
Urfa steet scene.
Urfa steet scene.
Urfa bazaar.
Urfa bazaar.
Entrance gate for Hasan Padisah Mo…
Entrance gate for Hasan Padisah M…
Sacred carp in a feeding frenzy.
Sacred carp in a feeding frenzy.
Carp pile.
Carp pile.
Near the carp pond.
Near the carp pond.
Sleepy bundle.
Sleepy bundle.
In Golbasi Park.
In Golbasi Park.
High octane Turkish coffee.
High octane Turkish coffee.
How many cups of tea can one perso…
How many cups of tea can one pers…
Row boat on Lake Ayn-Zeliha.
Row boat on Lake Ayn-Zeliha.
Steves meat dinner.
Steve's meat dinner.
Me and a big plate of calories.
Me and a big plate of calories.
Sanliurfa
photo by: Deats