Summary Information About Şanlıurfa

Şanlıurfa Province (Turkish: Şanlıurfa ili, Kurdish: Parêzgeha Rihayê]) or simply Urfa Province is a province in southeastern Turkey. The city of Şanlıurfa is the capital of the province which bears its name. The province is considered part of Turkish Kurdistan and has a Kurdish majority with a significant Arab and Turkish minority.


Şanlıurfa includes several major components of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (in Turkish Güneydogu Anadolu Projesi (GAP)) designed to:


  • exploit the hydropower potential of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers;
  • dramatically expand irrigation for agriculture; and
  • develop the economy of the region.

This very large-scale, state-sponsored development project involved the damming, redirecting, hydroelectric tapping and other use of rivers in this broad, semi-arid region. (The rivers then flow into Syria and Iraq). The GAP includes 22 dams and water supply for 1.8 million hectares for agricultural areas.




18584.00 km 2










History of Şanlıurfa

The history of Urfa is recorded from the fourth century BCE, but may date back at least to 9000 BCE, when there is ample evidence for the surrounding sites at Duru, Harran and Nevali Cori.


According to some Jewish and Muslim sources, Urfa is Ur Kasdim, the hometown of Abraham, This identification was disputed by Leonard Woolley, the excavator of the Sumerian city of Ur in 1927 and scholars remain divided on the issue. Urfa is also one of several cities that have traditions associated with Job.


For the Armenians, Urfa is considered a holy place since it is believed that the Armenian alphabet was invented there. Urfa was conquered repeatedly throughout history, and has been dominated by many civilizations, including the Ebla, Akkadians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Hittites, Hurri-Mitannis, Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Ancient Greeks (under Alexander the Great), Seleucids, Armenians, Arameans, the Neo-Assyrian Osrhoenes, Romans, Sassanids, Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuqs and Ottomans.


Although the site of Urfa has been inhabited since prehistoric times, the modern city was founded in 304 B.C by Seleucus I Nicator and named after the ancient capital of Macedonia. In the late 2nd century, as the Seleucid dynasty disintegrated, it became the capital of the Arab Nabataean Abgar dynasty, which was successively Parthian, Neo-Assyrian Osroene, Armenian, and Roman client state and eventually a Roman province.


Islam first arrived in Urfa around 638 AD, when the region surrendered to the Rashidun army without resisting, and became a significant presence under the Ayyubids (see: Saladin Ayubbi), Seljuks. In 1144, the Crusader state fell to the Turkish Abassid general Zengui, who had most of the Christian inhabitants slaughtered together with the Latin archbishop (see Siege of Edessa) and the subsequent Second Crusade failed to recapture the city. Subsequently, Urfa was ruled by Zengids, Ayyubids, Sultanate of Rum, Ilkhanids, Memluks, Akkoyunlu and Safavids before Ottoman conquest in 1516.


Under the Ottomans Urfa was initially made centre of Raqqa Eyalet, laterly part Urfa (Sanjak) of the Aleppo Vilayet. The area became a centre of trade in cotton, leather, and jewellery. There was a small but ancient Jewish community in Urfa, with a population of about 1,000 by the 19th century. Most of the Jews emigrated in 1896, fleeing the Hamidian massacres, and settling mainly in Aleppo, Tiberias and Jerusalem.

During the First World War, Urfa was a site of the Armenian and Assyrian genocides, beginning in August 1915. By the end of the war, the entire Christian population had been killed, had fled, or was in hiding.


The British occupation of the city of Urfa started de facto on 7 March 1919 and officially de jure as of 24 March 1919, and lasted until 30 October 1919. French forces took over the next day and lasted until 11 April 1920, when they were defeated by local resistance forces before the formal declaration of the Republic of Turkey on 23 April 1920).

Districts of Şanlıurfa

  • Akçakale
  • Birecik
  • Bozova
  • Ceylanpınar
  • Halfeti
  • Harran
  • Hilvan
  • Siverek
  • Suruç
  • Viranşehir

Point of Interests in Şanlıurfa

The province is famous for its Abrahamic sites such as Balıklıgöl, where Prophet Abraham was cast by Nimrod into fire that is believed to have turned to water. Also the Mevlid-i Halil Mosque, where Abraham is believed to be born in the cave next to the mosque is well known. Within the province, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa, is the pre-historic site of Göbekli Tepe, where continuing excavations have unearthed 12,000-year-old sanctuaries dating from the early Neolithic period, considered to be the oldest temples in the world, predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years.


The following tombs and sacred spots are located within the province:

  • Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham)’s birthplace
  • Prophet Ayyub (Job)’s cave and tomb
  • Prophet Alyasa (Elisha)’s Tomb
  • Imam Bakir’s Tomb
  • Shaykh Hayat al-Harrani’s Tomb
  • The first burial place of Said Nursi
  • Rahma Hatun’s Tomb
  • Neolithic Temple at Göbekli Tepe
  • Neolithic Settlement at Nevalı Çori

Let's see the cuisine of Şanlıurfa


For more information about Şanlıurfa



For more information, you may visit the official government website of SANILURFA


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