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x0x Sanliurfa

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    [See more on Sanliurfa by visiting the pages selected for you by Anita Donohoe: http://www.TurkRadio.us/k/urfa/ ] x0x Sanliurfa By NERMIN BAYCIN With its
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2007
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      [See more on Sanliurfa by visiting the pages
      selected for you by Anita Donohoe:
      http://www.TurkRadio.us/k/urfa/ ]

      x0x Sanliurfa

      By NERMIN BAYCIN

      With its millennia-old past, its traditional
      fabric and its living traces of ancient legends,
      Urfa is a city that represents the history of
      civilization...

      More than three thousand years ago, far away in
      the distant east, in Mesopotamia, God spoke to a
      man who was living with his flocks: Leave your
      land, your father and your family and go to the
      land that I will show you. So begins the story of
      Abraham, Father of Prophets, in the book of
      Genesis. Abraham, of the lineage of Noah, who came
      with his father Terah from the city of Ur to
      settle in Harran, set out from here for the the
      Promised Land of Canaan.

      CITY OF PROPHETS

      Ur, one of the earliest cities of Mesopotamian
      civilization, is situated near Basra at the
      confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. But
      it harbours in its history several more cities of
      the same name. The place in northern Mesopotamia
      known to the Aramaic tribes as Urhai, in other
      words todays Sanliurfa, also appears in certain
      sources as the Ur of ancient times.

      While it is not known to which place the Ur in
      Genesis refers, one thing is certain: Urfa is a
      very old city, touched and hallowed by many
      prophets, with living traces of ancient legends, a
      vital traditional fabric, and a history stretching
      back thousands of years, a city that has opened
      its arms to a wide variety of cultures. And
      religions, too, of course... The celebrated 17th
      century Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi describes
      the city as follows in 1650: Urfa is one of the
      oldest cities to have been founded since the time
      of Noah and the Great Flood, the work of a ruler
      by the name of Rohai from the tribe of Semud
      (Semito-Aramaic). It was in this city that Nimrod
      tossed the Prophet Abraham into the fire. During
      Roman rule, Jesus came here and descended on a
      church, which they therefore they call the Church
      of the Messiah. Together with the many holy places
      visited by Muslims, Christians and Jews along the
      pilgrimage route that has run since the oldest
      times to Mecca and Jerusalem, Urfa is truly, as is
      claimed, a City of Prophets.

      The Balikli Gol and nearby cavern are the scenes
      of the legend of Abraham, which has been kept
      alive for centuries and passed from language to
      language. They are connected as well with the Ur
      of Genesis. According to legend, Abraham was born
      in a cavern that lies today inside the courtyard
      of the Mevlid-i Halil Mosque and lived there until
      he was seven years old. Then, as the concept of
      monotheism began to spread, the king of the time,
      Nimrod, threw him into a fire from a high hill.
      But he was saved, because at that very moment the
      fire was transformed into water and the pieces of
      wood into fish, thereby creating the
      Halil-ur-Rahman Lake. This site is one of
      Sanliurfas most imposing, with the Rizvaniye
      Mosque and madrasa, built in 1716 by the Ottoman
      governor of Rakka, on one of its shores, and the
      Halil-ur Rahman Mosque complex, dating to 1211 in
      the Ayyubid period, on the other. And the fish in
      its waters have been regarded as sacred and
      protected ever since that day. Again in Celebis
      famous Book of Travels, Halil-ur-Rahman adds
      vitality to Urfa:

      Such a spring is the water of life that issues
      from the scene of the fire that it waters not only
      all the mosques, inns and public baths but the
      saddlers workshops and tanneries as well.

      The Gumruk Han (1562), dating to the period of
      Suleiman the Magnificent, and a section of the
      covered markets concentrated around it where the
      heart of the city beats are still supplied today
      with Halil-ur Rahman water, exactly as Celebi
      mentions. With their local costumes and shawls,
      two markets add colour today to this ancient
      commercial quarter, which lives on with
      undiminished vitality: the Sipahi Pazari, which
      preserves its historical character with its
      carpets, flatweaves and felt textiles, and the
      Kazzaz Pazari or Bedesten, a rare market that
      preserves the ancient flavour of Anatolia where,
      even though only two masters remain today, silk
      thread is still spun and processed by hand. And
      there are many more markets, such as the saddlers,
      feltmakers and fabric merchants markets, where the
      traditional handicrafts are struggling to survive
      despite everything.

      Together with the hans or inns such as Haci Kamil,
      Mencek, Topcu and Millet, some of the finest
      examples from the Ottoman period, Urfas historic
      markets are so rich and bustling that for this
      reason alone the city regards itself as among
      Anatolias leading provinces.

      PALATIAL STONE RESIDENCES

      As for the old stone houses, they occupy a
      privileged position within Urfas centuries-old
      traditional fabric. Divided into a womens section
      and a mens section known as the oda or room, these
      houses, despite having the same layout with their
      summer and winter eyvans or antechambers, display
      a wealth of variation. While each house has its
      own unique character, a host of details, such as
      doors and shutters decorated with motifs, wall
      panelling, and pigeonholes or niches, exhibit
      highly refined and masterful wood workmanship.
      Although they are divided up among different
      families today, these stone houses are in general
      so spacious as to resemble palaces. On a small
      scale of course...

      But their courtyards, called hayat, always boast
      pools and flowerbeds shaded by a variety of trees.
      As well as tiny decorative niches or birdhouses...
      Situated above the windows overlooking the
      courtyard, these birdhouses are part and parcel of
      Sanliurfas domestic architecture. The pigeons
      inside them, each one the pride of its owner, with
      bells on their feet and necklaces of bone or amber
      and elaborate earrings, lead contented lives in
      the style to which they have become accustomed at
      these special windows.

      HISTORIC AND HOLY

      The houses, which are entirely closed off to the
      outside world behind high walls, also determine
      the character of the narrow streets, where legend
      continues to light the way in an urban texture
      that exudes a medieval atmosphere. Such as, for
      example, the legend of the cave where the Prophet
      Job lay ill for seven years and the well where he
      was finally restored to health. One of the most
      fascinating sites from the legends recounted in
      the ancient sources is the Ulu Cami or Great
      Mosque dating to the 1170s in the Zangid period.

      This mosque, where the tomb of Seyh Ebubekir, a
      celebrated saint of the 17th century, is also
      located, was built over the former Church of Saint
      Stephan, known as the red church for its red
      marble columns.

      This church, conspicuous with its columns and bell
      tower, today a minaret, is synonymous with the
      legend of Black Abgar, the first king to recognize
      Christianity after receiving Christs handkerchief.

      According to the story, which is well known in the
      Christian world, Abgar V (ruled 13-50 A.D.) from
      the dynasty of the Aramaic kingdom known as
      Osrhoene which was founded in Urfa between 132
      B.C. and 244 A.D., wrote a letter to Jesus,
      inviting him to Urfa. Sanctifying the king and
      Urfa, Jesus sent him a handkerchief with which he
      had blotted his face. Imprinted with Jesuss
      visage, this sacred textile fragment was preserved
      in the Red Church and is said to have been brought
      ceremonially to Istanbul centuries later in 944
      A.D. by a Roman Imperial commander.

      The tombs of Islamic scholars and sheikhs such as
      Sih Maksut and Bediuzzaman el-Hemedani, the Mosque
      of Hasan Padisah, built by the Akkoyunlu Sultan
      (15th century), the Church of Saint John (18th
      century) and many other religious structures,
      madrasas, public baths, bridges and fountains...
      The fortress, a repository of all time, stretching
      back from the Ottomans to the Mamluks and
      Byzantines, from the Aramaic-speaking Assyrian
      Christians to the Seljuks and the Seleucan kingdom
      of Edessa, legacy of Alexander the Great... And
      beyond that from the Persians to the ancient
      Assyrians, from the Hittites to the worlds first
      farmers, and from the 11-millennia-old temple
      mound of the hunter-gatherers (Gobekli Tepe) to
      the paleolithic era, Urfa reflects the great
      adventure of the civilization of man.

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