Day 15 September 14, 2010 
 Tuesday Gobekli Tepe, Harran, Syrian border, Urfa                           
Day 16    
Table of content for Eastern Turkey Turkey tour Journal
 Submitted by Meli Seval

 We left Diyarbakir at 07:00 am. The city out side the old part around the huge city walls was like a nice neighborhood of Istanbul. It was clean, There were beautiful shops and buildings. We were able to get on the Siverek road with out having to hustle with  the traffic this early in the morning . The high way going through wheat fields was three lanes each way. this part of turkey and these villages once were the least developed part of Turkey. Now the settlements looked very inviting with brand new buildings , schools and monuments on every junction.
21 km to the east of Sanli Urfa, we climbed on a hill called Gobekli Tepe. Susan in our group wanted to visit this sacred site and certainly we all appreciated her interest in this 12000 year old excavation. The oldest constructed temples in the world - Gobekli tepe temples. The mound was excavated down to the rock level. 10s of circular shaped temples were found. Each temple had 12 fifteen foot pillars lined up in a circular manner with 20-foot 2 pillars in the middle of the circle. The pillars were reminiscent of human form. lizard, fox, lion figures were decorating the anthropomorphized pillars. the date of the sanctuaries were dated to 12000 years before our time upon carbon 14 tests made on the animal bones excavated in the temples but they have not found any remains of humans. The peak of the mound had a wish tree. The tree, the two graves which the locals  accept to be sacred and the 12000 year old sanctuaries on the same mound!! Our next stop was the magnificent hotel MANICI in Sanli Urfa. A dream of an Orientalists came true in this hotel. The manager, Ms. Dicle, is my friend. I am hoping to introduce her too my group so they can see the artist who put this hotel together.
After lunch we droved 45 km to the Syrian - Turkish border. turkey does not require visa for the Syrians. There was no sign of heavy business traffic but people were happy to be able to cross the border with no hassle. The border was open only to the divided families along the border  up to 4 years ago. We droved through the Harran Valley. Until the dam on Euphrates river was completed in 1992, this was a desert. Now cotton, sunflower, corn for Euro Deasel, wheat is growing every where. The only thing that had not changed since the time of Abraham was Harran: the houses were still built with conic ceilings, the women dressed as they did 4000 years ago and they spoke the language that Abraham spoke when he arrived here running away from the anger of King Nimrut. Doris in our group who loved purple kept commenting on the purple head covers of the women. Our first stop in Harran was a house of an old friend of Meli., Ibrahim's house. We were, as usual welcomed, served tea and we found out about what was going on in the village. They were still not sending their daughters to school. They were not happy with the number of tourists visiting. The agriculture was good.


This group had experienced every possible bathroom en route. Doris is the record keeper of which bathrooms  are better than the others.

We had free time to shoot pictures of Harran. Diane and Ken ran up to the castle. It was so hot out side most of us preferred taking the picture of the castle from the road at a distance. Harran is known to have the oldest known university. the temple dedicated to the Sun God - GOD SIN, was also used for astronomic research 4000 years ago.



Abraham was born in Urfa during the reign of King Nimrut. King Nimrut had thought of himself as a God. Among the many gods of the polytheist  pantheon he could have been the 30th god and that did not bother him. however, when Abraham started preaching about one God, Nimrut did not want to be one God too many. He ordered Abraham to be killed.
From the 2 pillars up in the fortress of Urfa, they threw Abraham down in to the city. It is now believed that the wood and stones had become fish and the fire turned into water when Abraham hit the stack of fire down at the bottom of the hill. in respect to this story the Christians built a church and the Moslems built a mosque around the same  lake.



  The rest of the day was free to visit the cave where Abraham was born and to walk the interesting streets of Urfa. We saw the copper smiths, carpenters making hundreds of cribs , on every street there were tens of shops selling the material that was glowing in the light.

For dinner we wanted to experiment a typical dinner time entertainment of Urfa. Cengiz was very patient going in and out of hotel street which was always blocked by one or two cars. We had to wait for the drivers of three cars to move their cars that were blocking our bus. finally we started driving up the roads of Urfa for an interesting evening, Before we got to the house where the SIRA GECESI entertainment was going to be performed, we saw a barber shop, The barber was singeing the hair on the face of his client with a cotton ball on fire. We asked for permission and both the barber and the man who was getting a shave were delighted  to have their pictures taken. At Sira Gecesi, we listened to local live music and watched how Urfa style meatballs are made.  Barbara thought she lost her camera but the camera turned out to be on the table. we were all happy for her



Click here for Day 16    Table of content for Eastern Turkey Turkey tour Journal