February 5, 2014

"Glorious" Urfa Walkabout

You've seen my home. Now, the city!

These girls are rocking a pretty standard Urfa outfit for their age, based on what I've seen: slim jeans, coat to low thigh, and fancy headscarf tied around the front of the neck.

Urfa is no village. Population is estimated at 500,000.

Standard urban Turkish man garb: leather jacket, nice jeans, a longer coat for the gentleman.

In Urfa, by the way, every park is Dude Chilling Park.

Local elections are coming up (more on this later), so the streets are full of signs, flags, and music-blaring vans.

Many of the older women wear long coats, again with the fancy headscarves tied around the front of the neck.

Kitap means 'book' (in Turkish and Arabic). The university students inside were super kind and searched the shelves for a book in English (no dice). One of them, insisting that we speak in English, asked, "What are you doing...here...in Urfa?" I laughed.

Big plaza undergoing development. Requisite Atatürk statue at back left.

Şanlıurfa is the real name of the city. Şanlı meaning 'Glorious' was added to 'Urfa' to commemorate the city's efforts in the War of Independence–the war after World War I, when Atatürk fought off the Allies and made Turkey from what was left of the Ottoman Empire.

Apparently it took a few years of petitioning for the 'Glorious' to be added. Local politicians were tired of hearing about neighbouring cities 'Gazi' (veteran/warrior) Antep and 'Kahraman' (Heroic) Maraş.

Sunny days, cold nights.

Balıklı Göl! "Fish Pond"! This beautiful pool is Urfa's main attraction.

The story: Nimrod pushed Abraham/Ibrahim off a cliff and into a bed of burning embers.

God/Allah turned the bed of burning embers into a pool of friendly fish, and Abraham/Ibrahim went on to play his founding role in the three major monotheistic religions.

And Urfa has a swell park.

In the afternoon I returned to my neighbourhood in Yeni Şehir (New City), and took a walk through a more modest, but still lovely, park.

I like that beyond this empty lot we can see the plains. This is Mesopotamia, birthplace of agriculture! So cool.


  1. A city with parks is always a park (I'm looking at you Cairo...ahem) even if they're just for Dude Chilling. I must ask what *are* you doing there? What made you decide to stay in Urfa? Blog post? I'm intrigued!

    1. Hey Jackie, it's true--I must be grateful for parks and other Turkish perks. Tonight I may try to run in one, which always feels a bit like a mini political act. What am I doing here? Hold tight, and I will try to answer that soon :)

  2. It's no Tetouan, but it'll do.


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