Sunday, July 8, 2012

Turkey Trip Day 17

Sunday July 01

Sanliurfa, Turkey
We are now in Mesopotamia, "Land between the Rivers" (Tigris and Euphrates)

Smiley faces on the breakfast buffet? 
Our hotel, very central, in walking distance to the city center e.g. bazaar.
First stop today: Harran  and the bee-hive houses.

Aykut was disappointed that he could not show us Harran Kalesi (castle or stronghold). It was closed.

If you click on the above link, make sure you scroll all the way down to "Harran in scriptures". So interesting.
Boys at work .. finding fodder?

These houses are made without wood since all the trees were cut down for fuel many centuries ago.

First we walk to the ruins of the University. In the 8th or 9th century Harran was even more important intellectually then Baghdad.They taught astronomy, geometry and other science subjects

Somehow a bit desolate but just think what might be still in the ground ... and never found?
The University was part of a mosque as were the schools in medieval Europe associated with monasteries or cathedrals. This is all that remains of it today.

We walk up the hill where an area is secured for excavation.

The bee-hive houses not only look nice but they also seem practical. Nice and cool.

WC. Somebody adjusted the houses to our needs.
Inside the roof.

The butter churn ... a goat skin.

Was he really just joking when he asked whether he could have Stephanie?
A nice place in the shade.
Coffee or tea?

The coffee was a ceremony. They poured just a little, you drank it but didn't set it on the table, they poured more. If you set it down before you had drunk three times you were required to fill the tiny cup with gold

Don't set it down.

We are so close to the border to Syria anyway that our guide decides to show us.
We drive right to the gate. Nothing seems to have changed her even after the news about the plane being shot down. Half of the town is in Syria and half in Turkey and everybody has relatives on both sides.
 The driver backs up and parks and we can get out.

James makes a friend, the money changer.

You can see front and back here.


He invites us to his house to have a look from the roof.
He is an artist obviously. 
See the baby swing?

I don't think you could get closer to the border.
This is were they sleep at night when it is so hot.
He seemed so genuinely friendly. I liked him. He even offered us food and drink but we had to decline that because there was more on our itinerary to do.

A taxi had come over from Syria.
Water for irrigation. This is part of the problem with Syria. The Euphrates originates in Turkey and Turkey has built dams and reservoirs for irrigation and the farmers are flourishing. It looks green and lushe now. But Syria is now getting less water from the Euphrates River ...
Then we visited Göbekli Tepe, the oldest temple of the World (10000 BC) which makes it about 12,000 years old.
This was so exciting. The gentleman who walked around with us and answered our question was actually the son of the farmer who owned the fields, found the first statue and brought it to the local museum where it was ignored for some time. When they realized what this site was, they took his fields away and compensated him with which he was not really satisfied. So the government made him an employee of the site. Good news for us because he was there from the beginning and had worked with the archeologists.

We were there pretty much all by ourselves except for a brief moment when a couple of busloads of boys rushed around.

This is the place the German team is working on right now (well, starting in two weeks again).They have uncovered 6 stone circles and from x-ray testing believe there are at least a dozen more

Lunch time! I am trying Şalgam Suyu, which is a popular beverage from southern Turkey. Although the Turkish word şalgam literally means "turnip", it is actually made with the juice of red carrot pickles, salted, spiced, and flavoured with aromatic turnip (çelem) fermented in barrels with the addition of ground bulgur. It is traditionally served cold in large glasses with long slices of pickled carrots.
Yeah, lentil soup.
Tasting the dessert ‘’Şıllık’’

After the restaurant James is in search of beer. Tough luck! This is a very strong moslem religous town and alcohol is strongly discouraged
The history of the city Şanlıurfa is recorded from the 4th century BC, but may date back to 9000 BC, when there is ample evidence for the surrounding sites at Duru, Harran and Nevali Cori. It was one of several cities in the Euphrates-Tigris basin, the cradle of the Mesopotamian civilization. According to Turkish Muslim traditions Urfa (its name since Byzantine days) is the biblical city of Ur of the Chaldees, due to its proximity to the biblical village of Harran. However, some historians and archaeologists claim the city of Ur is in southern Iraq, and the true birthplace of Abraham is still in question. Urfa is also known as the birthplace of Job.
From our hotel we can walk to visit ‘’Balıklıgöl’’ where Abraham was supposed to be thrown to the fire with a catapult from a high cliff. 

... but the fire turned into water and the burning wood into fish and Abraham survived. That's why these big carp will never be eaten.
There is a mosque on the place where he supposedly landed next to this pond

Aykut gets talked into sitting down and tasting pistachio coffee ‘’Melengiç’’ by this waiter. It was lovely.
After the refreshment we went to the mosque built on the site where prophet Abraham is believed to have been born. No pictures though because I didn't want to offend the Muslims for whom this site is very holy.
When we stroll the bazaar, James and I buy a silver (looking) tray from this craftsman to replace the damaged one from Thailand.

The Turkish tobacco seller.
It seems that all craftsmen of a certain kind are on the same street. This is the taylor's street.
... or rather: court yard. Everybody was very nice and friendly to us.

This square seemed to be the 'food court' but it seemed only men were sitting there.
We women dared to sit down too.The stools were very low, we manged to get down but getting up again was more of a challenge!

Dinner at the hotel, outside, lovely breeze.
Smiley face? Really?

Angelhair dessert.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
From Aykut's CD:

Day 17 Sunday 07.01.2012 (Şanlıurfa)

Harran Visit, famous with its Bee-Hived Houses
Driving to the Syrian Border at Akçakale (Not in the Program. Learning & Discovery)
Göbeklitepe Visit, the oldest temple of the World (10000 BC) (Not in the Program. Learning & Discovery)
Lunch in the city center Şanlıurfa (Tasting the dessert ‘’Şıllık’’)
Visiting ‘’Balıklıgöl’’ where Abraham was supposed to be thrown to the fire
Walking through the bazaars of Şanlıurfa (tasting pistachio coffee ‘’Melengiç’’)
Port talk about the following day’s Program
                                                                                 Overnight at El Ruha Hotel, Şanlıurfa

1 comment:

  1. I think that Rick Steves visited Göbekli Tepe on his Turkey show. Such a special place and it is wonderful that it was found by a farmer.