Beehive Homes

Harran Travel Blog

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Harran

Today we were going to explore Harran, a town to the south that was famous for its beehive homes. We had to go to the Otogar then catch a Dolmus from there.  The small bus would take about an hour or so to get to Harran.  The countryside looked pretty dry and Harran was also a dry dusty bowl.  We had just got off the bus when a well dressed official looking guy approached us to say he represented the tourist office in town he not only grabbed myself and Zehra but another couple of Turkish tourists that was on the bus. I couldn’t understand what he was saying as he was babbling away to Zehra in Turkish but I got the idea he was a tout.  We sat down on some chairs in a shady garden near the bus stop and he wanted to offer his tour guide services for a fee of course. Once I got from Zehra what he was saying I said no we don’t want his services we are quite capable of taking ourselves around. He tried to tell us that children would follow us around, nice try mate I know your game, I told him politely to buzz off we weren’t interested!  We did get free water and tea out of him so we thank him for that.  The Turkish couple asked if they could join us and we were happy to have them along, they would have been in their 50’s and from Istanbul.  It was a very small town so it wasn’t hard to locate the attractions. We set off through the stone archway and up the hill, it was a hot day so we took our time, once we reached the top of the hill you could see the old castle and beehive homes, to our left was ruins of an old University.

Kultur Evi house
  Our tour guide official Mr Try hard! buzzed passed on his motorbike, Zehra saw him signal another tout who would obviously try to latch on to us at some point. We quickly learnt there was a money making racket in this town among the young latching on to tourists.  Our first stop was the Kultur Evi house which is a beehive home setup for visitors, we barely got to the house when a local tout glued to us and told me he was a student studying tourism so he immediately thought he could be our tour guide, wrong! He did give us some useful information but if he thought he was getting payment he can think again. The beehive home with its golden beehive shaped domes was 200 years old. Outside the house was a small yard with some farm machinery and old beds on display. The courtyard of the house had some seating with walls decorated with tribal wall hangings and here you could sit and have a chai or coffee. We wondered into each of the dome shaped rooms with our shadow not far behind us! There was a sitting room, couple of bedrooms and a kitchen each room richly furnished. Our unofficial guide was babbling information to us while we walked around.  I looked closely at the walls of the house, underneath was stone then this was covered with a mixture of mud, manure and straw then I guess painted golden. One room had costumes and you could dress up in various Middle Eastern attire and take photos within the home grounds. A tour group had turned up and many of the group dressed up and took photos of each other, one guy dressed up in Arab garb and had a machine gun so I took a photo of him!  We sat and had tea and chatted with a young Turkish girl who lived in Canada, she was travelling for three months. After refreshing ourselves with tea we shopped at a stall selling scarves.

The tour group had left and we were back on our own again, it was time to move on and see more of this dusty settlement and its castle. The husband of the old Turkish couple that were with us had complained to an official at the house about the 5th wheel that was trying to follow us around, our shadow soon disappeared as he was told to do so!  The old man at the house who had told our shadow to get lost told us he was the head honcho of the Kurdish group that resided in the village and that visitors are free to explore the town on their own free will and no one can tell us likewise. Funny about that and we didn’t pose many issues with kids either!  While all this was going on I was following a Turkey around a village farmyard, damn bird wouldn’t pose!  Once we were all together again we made our way towards the castle past more beehive homes which were old and a little more run down.

Old Bed, Kultur Evi house
  The castle site dates back to Hittite times and what we saw dates back to 1059 AD when the Fatimid’s restored it.  There were still quite a bit left to explore so we clambered our way around it.  On the way back to the main village we had a quick look at the ruins of the old University it wasn’t much to see just an old wall.  I was walking in front on the way back; I had passed through the gate and turned to wait for the slowcoaches behind me. They were so busy yakking that they didn’t notice the cow came charging down the hill behind them! They didn’t hear me shout LOOK OUT it was too late the old lady was knocked flying!  You couldn’t see passed the gate and I heard this noise like a tyre being dragged, Zehra and her friends were blocking the gate entrance and the cow appeared from nowhere and it was very much in a hurry, unfortunately the Turkish lady was in its way!  The cow continued to bolt at a pace lucky enough not towards me! It had a long rope around its neck with a tyre attached! It was the noise of the tyre dragging that caught my attention.  We helped the lady up; lucky she only had a scrape on her elbow and no broken bones I think she was in shock more than anything!  We went to a nearby cafe for lunch and waited for our Dolmus which arrived at 3pm.  Our bus back was a little busier, we picked up a few Kurdish locals on the way, the buses here won’t leave until they have a virtually full bus and they cruise the roads hoping to pick up more even though there is no seating space!  Harran was a good day out and can easily be done on your own you certainly don’t need a guide.  Back at the hotel we asked the staff if they knew where the travel agent was that they had told us about, one guy walked us there down the road. We wanted to find out about tours to Mt Nemrut, they did a tour but it wasn’t available yet as they said it was still too cold up there so it looks like we would make our own way there tomorrow.

Back at the hotel the staff asked us if we would be interested in a folklore evening for 35 Lira including dinner, it seemed a good idea so we opted to go.  We had 3 hours rest before our taxi picked us up at 7:30pm. The folk music evening was held in an old Ottoman mansion that had been converted to a restaurant.

Kultur Evi house
A function room upstairs was set up with cushions and low tables.  Most of the attendees were large Turkish tour groups Zehra and I were the only foreigners in the room!  The music was very Arabic and the night was very enjoyable. Dinner was five courses starting with a cold soup of yogurt containing chickpeas and cooked wheat, I gave it a miss! Next was a mixed salad with stuffed spicy meatballs and small Lahmachun that was delicious. Third course was a mixture of chicken and meat kebabs with grilled tomato, eggplant and chillies accompanied by Bulgar wheat, onions and red cabbage that too was very tasty.  While we waited for the 4th course a well dressed guy who sang very nice came around to each table asked where you from then sang a song for you!  A lot of the people in the room were obviously a fan of this type of music so knew the words to the songs.  Eventually course number 4 came around and it was Cig Kofte which is raw meat heavily mixed with spices and Bulgar wheat, they were making these meatballs in the middle of the room along with rolling out the flat bread that accompanies it. I took one bite and that was enough, it was potent and the thought of eating raw meat turned my stomach. Zehra didn’t like it either.  Desert was Sillik desert which is a sweet pastry roll filled with walnuts and soaked in syrup.  Towards the end of the night we had some entertainment from a group of men who performed traditional folklore dancing to the music, they were very good.  Last but not least was a Turkish coffee unique to this region; Zehra tried it I didn’t as I don’t drink coffee.  The coffee was in a very small cup and was nothing more than a dribble in the bottom of the cup, Zehra took one sip and her face contorted into all shapes; I don’t think she liked it!  She said it was way too strong not like the Turkish coffee she was used to.  The night was excellent it was nice to see something unique to the region and different on this trip.

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Harran
Harran
Beehive home you could visit
Beehive home you could visit
Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Old Bed, Kultur Evi house
Old Bed, Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
The cafe area in Kultur Evi house
The cafe area in Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Common sitting area at Kultur Evi …
Common sitting area at Kultur Evi…
Bedroom, Kultur Evi house
Bedroom, Kultur Evi house
The inside of the dome in a Beehiv…
The inside of the dome in a Beehi…
Bedroom, Kultur Evi house
Bedroom, Kultur Evi house
Inside Kultur Evi house
Inside Kultur Evi house
Kitchen, Kultur Evi house
Kitchen, Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house
Mmmm I wonder what he is dressed a…
Mmmm I wonder what he is dressed …
Having Chai at Kultur Evi house
Having Chai at Kultur Evi house
Kultur Evi house Beehive home
Kultur Evi house Beehive home
I chase a Turkey in Turkey!!
I chase a Turkey in Turkey!!
Old Beehive Homes
Old Beehive Homes
The Citadel
The Citadel
Old Beehive Homes
Old Beehive Homes
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
The Citadel
Old Beehive Homes
Old Beehive Homes
The ruins of an old University
The ruins of an old University
Life in Harran
Life in Harran
Musicians at the Folklore Evening
Musicians at the Folklore Evening
Folklore Evening
Folklore Evening
Folklore Evening
Folklore Evening
Raw meat balls being prepared for …
Raw meat balls being prepared for…
The drummer at the Folklore Evening
The drummer at the Folklore Evening
Folklore Evening
Folklore Evening
Harran
photo by: skippyed