From Sanliurfa we headed further south – within 15km of Syria - to Harran, which is famous for being one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth (it is mentioned in Genesis) and has a nicely ruined 11th century castle, an 8th century Mosque with a square minaret next to ruins dating back 5,000 years, and the famous beehive houses.
castle at Harran
We were guided round by Mehmet a young student who picked us up as we got into the village whose English was very good, he was also very knowledgeable about his village. We probably could have wandered around on our own but the guide gave us more info and probably kept away other potential followers as we went around the town. He was also quite entertaining, telling us what he required in a girlfriend - she had to be blonde.
The village is famous for its “beehive” houses which are made of stone and mud. It is thought that this style is used in areas such as this where there is no wood. The irrigation system (called GAP) has transformed the lives of locals who are now relatively wealthy from the agricultural opportunities that have arisen. The beehive houses are no longer occupied and there is a new town a few hundred yards away.
us at visitor centre
We would have loved to have gone into Syria but this required lots of advance planning and depositing large sums of money (and I am talking thousands here) in order to obtain a carnet de passage. Of course it is now too late to visit Syria and we are grateful that we did at least visit this part of Turkey when we did as it would probably not be possible now as it is so close to the border.
The map on the right shows you Harran - only a short distance from Syria.
Click here for Eastern Med the seaside but without the tack!