I was in Cappadocia with a friend and we were planning to travel to Mardin from there. That was our initial plan but it changed when we asked about the bus tickets to Mardin. There was no direct bus to Mardin and we were said that first, we need to go to Urfa. It was a lucky delay because we decided to stay there for one day.
I can’t really sleep on a road trip so I planned the day on the bus. It was a quick, last minute plan but it really worked well. If you want to visit all the major historical sites in Urfa, you will need to spend more days in the city but you can still enjoy a bunch within one day. We booked our hotel, Şehrazat Konağı, on the bus and arrived at Urfa bus station very early.
Here is the list for those who are looking for a quick summary of what to do in Urfa:
- Visit Fırfırlı Mosque
- Visit Balıklıgöl and feed the sacred fishes
- Visit the Abraham’s Cave and the Mevlid-i Halil Mosque
- Visit the Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque
- Visit the Urfa Castle
- Walk in the streets of the old town
- Don’t forget to buy İsot, eat Çiğ Köfte and Şıllık Desert.
- Visit the Archeology and Mosaic Museum
- Attend a Sıra Night
- Farther away: Visit Göbekli Tepe and Harran
Those who want to join our journey can continue reading.
Arriving at the hotel early in the morning
Even though it was too early, we needed to go to the hotel first, at least to leave our bags. Luckily and thanks to the hospitality of the hotel owner, we were able to check in to our room as we got there. The architecture of the hotel was mesmerizing; very authentic and palace-like. You can see the hotel’s yard and the city view from the hotel below:
Here is the map view of the hotel and its distance to the center. By center I mean Balıklıgöl. After we got out of the hotel, we walked towards Balıkgöl area and on our way, we explored the streets and the architecture. On the map, you can see the Fırfırlı Mosque. That was our first stop and the boy in there helped us to get to the terrace of the mosque.
The streets, architecture and the famous Balıklıgöl
Here are a few pics of Fırfırlı Mosque and the streets:
Şanlıurfa is known as the city of prophets and the birthplace of Hz. Abraham. It is believed that the Balıklıgöl (pool of sacred fishes) is the place where Hz. Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod. But the fire turns into water, the woods turn into fishes and the prophet lives. So since then the pool and the fishes are accepted as sacred. Photos:
Urfa is an old city with a history goes back to 9,000 B.C. or even further with the latest findings at Göbeklitepe. So, I really recommend visiting the Urfa Archaeology and Mosaic Museum. You will find the replica of a temple found in Göbeklitepe and the oldest known life-sized statue to have survived intact.
After visiting the main attractions, wandering around the old streets and shopping, I was already mesmerized by the aura of the city and decided to visit it a second time later on. But, I didn’t know yet that I would have so much fun at a Sıra Night. Sıra Nights are traditional gatherings held by the locals. We attended the one that was held in our hotel. Music was played and the delicacies of the Urfa cuisine were served. The atmosphere, the food, and service were great. Within just one day, we got to experience the city to the full and took the bus to Mardin early in the morning.