The City of Abraham: Sanliurfa (Urfa)

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The City of Abraham: Sanliurfa (Urfa)

Sanliurfa is one of the biggest cities located in the south eastern region in Turkey. People in Turkey usually shorten Sanliurfa to Urfa. So, you should be ready to hear Urfa instead of Sanliurfa. The original name of the city was Urfa until 1984. Sanli means glorious and the government decided to add this extension in front of the name Urfa because of the role of the city during the independence war.

Urfa is a very popular city for Muslim people since they believe that the Prophet Abraham was born here. It is also an important city for Christians since major religions have connections with the Prophet Abraham.

Sanliurfa Balikli Gol | City Of Abraham | How In Turkey
Şanlıurfa Balıklı Göl

One of the most important place to visit in Urfa is the fish pool (Balıklı Göl). This pool is believed to be the place where Abraham had been thrown into by Nimrod. Muslim people believe that God protected the Prophet Abraham from the fire by changing the flames into water and wood into fish. The fishes in the pool are considered to be those woods.

What you should know about Urfa before visiting the city?

When you visit Urfa, you will see that the city is a modern place with high buildings and traffic. However, this is not what you want to see in the city. If you are coming to Urfa for a touristic visit, you should keep in mind that the city is actually divided into two; new Urfa and Old Urfa. Old Urfa is where you would like to see since the historical buildings and landscapes are mostly in that area.

Old Urfa
Old Urfa (retrieved from

What you will discover in old Urfa is that the buildings are completely different compared to modern styles. You will discover that the city has a strong Arabic influenced architectural buildings compared to the new Urfa.

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