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Cave of Abraham. Urfa is supposedly the birthplace of Abraham (called Ibrahim in Arabic, he was an important prophet) and henceforth an important Islamic place of pilgrimage. Around the site of the cave are a number of mosques built around a park with water features. One of these mosques, the Halil-ur-Rahman has a pool (called the Balikligöl) occupied by a rather large number of holy fish. It is said that anyone who catches one of these will go blind. That said the story behind the pool is quite interesting: The pool is at a site where Nemrut (there’s a legend claiming him to be the builder of the tower of Babel) wanted to burn Abraham as a sacrifice. God however intervened and turned the pyre into water and the coals into fish, thus saving Abraham.

The atmospheric bazaar with its hustle and bustle is quite charming, as is the old town.

The ancient ruined castle with newer walls dating from around 814 AD on the rocky promontory at the south side of town. A lone column is just about all that remains of the older structure but the views are spectacular. Almost mystical crimson and hazy sights from the terrace at the entrance of the castle over the old city during the evening call to prayer is hard to beat and well worth the effort the climb there, even if the grounds of the castle is closed already. 9AM-5PM. 3 TL.

Gobekli Tepe. Famed as the oldest temple in the world, Gobekli Tepe has changed the way that archaeologists look at history. Its exisitence pre-dates farming and settlements, and so it proves that man had religion before he even lived in a village or a town. Dated to 9000 BCE

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