Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Exotic Şanlıurfa

Şanlıurfa (usually just called Urfa) has a very Middle Eastern feel to it.  There are not many foreign tourists, and it's quite inexpensive.

I got a bus from Malatya that, it turned out, was not actually going all the way to Urfa.  The bus driver dropped me at a turnoff from the main highway, where there was a nearly full minibus waiting to take me the rest of the way.  It worked out okay.  I got there from Malatya in about four hours, no problem.

The minibus dropped us in the newer part of the city, which looks about like any other Turkish city - lots of ugly modern concrete buildings.  The driver pointed me in the general direction of the old city.  Eventually, by asking someone and by finding a landmark that was also in the map on my Lonely Planet book, I was able to find it.

I got a room at the Otel Urhay, which was recommended in Lonely Planet.  The room was perfectly adequate, and the courtyard was beautiful.

While in Urfa went to check out the Balıklı Göl (Fish Lake) which is filled with carp that people feed and is surrounded by gardens.

I also spent a lot of time walking around in the market and the narrow alleys surrounding it.

I saw lots of doorways with these things above them - not sure what it is.

In a tea garden in the market.

Pigeons - for what?

Lots of red pepper flakes - they use this a lot in the cooking.

The tailors in the market.

In the courtyard of a mosque.

Cemetery next to a mosque.


  1. "I saw lots of doorways with these things above them - not sure what it is." Looks like an image of the Kaaba stone. Could it mean that someone in the house has been to Mecca on the Hajj?

    1. Considering it's a very religious city, that's quite possible.