The Pool of the Sacred Fish

Mezopotamia is an ancient region that has attracted people throughout history because of its fertile soil, and is where the first permanent settlements were established. The wealth of its cultural and natural heritage, its diversity and multiplicity makes this region unique. The historical areas with their many original artefacts, archaeology, anthropology, ethnography, art and culture practically turn it into a living museum. Şanlıurfa is right at the heart of this region. Located in the Central Euphrates section of the Southeastern Anatolia Region, Şanlıurfa is surrounded by Mardin to the east, Diyarbakır to the northeast, Adıyaman to the northwest, Gaziantep to the west and Syria to the south. The city is founded on the white limestone foothill, tucked into a bay-shaped area in the rock formation on Harran Plain. It has always functioned as a gateway to civilisation, welcoming all visitors, and all beliefs. Its position on the Silk Road and at the intersection of the trade routes made it easier for different languages, cultures and social structures to blend in the different periods.



Şanlıurfa offers its visitors a unique experience with its fortress where two ancient columns stand guard, Abraham’s Cave, the Pool of the Sacred Fish, the stone mansions that have been the homes of so many lives, the traditional Sira nights where the tunes of fellowship are sung, Halil İbrahim’s dinner table, the Archaeological Museum, the markets redolent of spices, the pigeons painting the sky, and restaurants offering countless flavours.

Şanlıurfa is moulded by history and there are traces to be found from every period; every archaeological find anywhere in the city leads to the rewriting of history, and is a source for the city where the past meets the future. Twelve thousand years ago Şanlıurfa was the cultural centre of the world, it not only contributed to world heritage in the Neolithic but also in the Palaeolithic period.

Şanlıurfa Archeology Museum


The significance of Şanlıurfa in the Neolithic period is demonstrated by the fact that all archaeological assumptions so far have had to be revised following the discovery of Göbeklitepe, erected by the last hunter gatherers going back 12,000 years, and Karahantepe where excavations began in 2019. Traces of one of the most critical events in the history of mankind - the beginning of farming and animal husbandry - were found in Nevali Çori. The Neolithic lifestyle based on farming and livestock farming including all its rules and regulations began to take root in Mezraa-Teleilat and Akarçay Tepe. Şanlıurfa is also considered the City of Prophets, and its Pool of the Sacred Fish, the Cave of Job, Harran, the Well of Moses, the Ancient City of Sogmatar, the city of Şuayp and the Saint Jacob Monastery make it a very important destination for religious tourism. The rich collection from the Neolithic period at Şanlıurfa’s Archaeological Museum contains all the traces of Şanlıurfa’s contributions to the history of civilisation.

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