Sunday – 22/12/2019 | Şanlıurfa
Today, our plan was to do the remaining sites of Şanlıurfa which was Harran (a town 43km away), Eyyüp Peygamber Makamı, the Fortress and the Urfa Castle. It didn’t take us long to discover that public transport was the way to get to places.
We caught a bus outside the hotel and set out on our journey. We were visiting Harran first.
Harran was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia. We were greeted by a guide, Haldun, as soon as we arrived. He charged us 100 TL for all five of us. We began the walk.
Harran used to have a 4km surrounding the city with five gates. It was built by the Roman Empire. Four gates were destroyed so one gate remains, the Aleppo gate.
We took a short walk to our next stop, Harran University. As we walked, the guide told us that they are currently excavating houses from the Umayyad empire.
Harran University is the first university in the world. It was built in 3000 BC by the Babylonian empire. In 744 AD, the Ummayad empire turned the university into a grand mosque. The original arch of the mosque which still stands today was built by Salahuddin Ayyubi. It was also used as a madrassah. When Ganges Khan came, he destroyed the mosque, the people escaped and went to Edessa. We then passed the Harran Ulu Mosque.
Harran is a Muslim area. I noticed that when you ask people if they’re Muslim, they always reply “Yes, Alhamdulillah.” Alhamdulillah, for Islam. Alhamdulillah for being Muslim. Alhamdulillah.
As we walked to the castle, a wedding procession came pass hooting and waving scarves. The guide told us in summer, they work and in winter, they get married.
The Harran inner castle is still standing. It was built by the Hittites. It had two floors, the first floor had a sun and moon temple. The second floor had 150 rooms, 15 rooms remain today. In the fifth century, the Ummayad empire took over it and they added a third floor, making one floor a mosque.
As we walked through the town, there was blue cart looking things, in summer they sleep on these carts. They’re painted blue because scorpions are afraid of blue.
Our final stop in Harran was the beehive mud houses. They keep locals cool in summer. There’s a tourist shop here where you can buy souvenirs and also a cafe where you can buy tea and relax.
We then caught our next bus to Eyyüp Peygamber Makamı. The bus dropped us off and we then had to take a short walk to it.
Nabi Ayyub (A.S) was given this name to signify his repentance. Nabi Ayyub (A.S) was a descendant of Nabi Ibraheem (A.S). He is known to have been born in Palestine or Mesapotamia. Allah tested him with wealth and abundance of his children. Later on, he was infected with diseases. When his ilnness began hampering his prayers, Nabi Ayyub (A.S) cried to Allah saying “Truly adversity has afflicted me and You are Most Merciful of all who show mercy.” (Surah Al-Anbya, Verse 83) and Allah responded him, saying “Strike the ground with your foot; this is a spring for a cool bath and drink.” (Surah Sad, Verse 83). Allah provided Nabi Ayyub (A.S) with water from this well to drink and wash to get cured from his illness. He lived for a long time after he regained his health. Allah bestowed upon him children and prosperity. He is known to have lived in a cave for seven years through his illness.
The Eyyüp Peygamber Makamı holds the well of Nabi Ayyub (A.S) and the cave that he stayed in when he was ill. You can also drink the water from the well and it holds medicinal properties.
We then stopped to have corn in a cup which definitely slaps hard on the cold day. We were going to take the bus back to our hotel but the bus was really full. My dad ended up on the bus but the rest of us got left behind. So we decided that we were going to take a taxi. There was only one taxi near us so these other people from Izmir jumped in the taxi with us and after what felt like forever, we were back at the hotel where we met my dad.
After a quick recharge for our phones, I wanted to go see the Fortress and Urfa castle but unfortunately both were closed. We decided to go back to Halil-ür Rahman, the city centre.
As we reached the city centre, it was almost maghrib time. We fed the fish food (you buy the fish food for 1 TL) and waited for maghrib athaan to go. The sun set on Balıklıgöl and it was honestly one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The athaan was called out in the city centre by three different masjids. It was amazing to hear.
After maghrib, we went to have supper at the restaurant in the city centre. The food wasn’t the best but it had a really nice vibe, it was near Ayn-Zeliha Lake.
After supper, we took a taxi back to the hotel where we settled in for the night.
Step count: 13 938
Side note: All the Islamic history of Şanlıurfa is Allahu ‘Aalam, Allah knows best.