The 10 Best Things To Do In Şanlıurfa

Imagine stepping into a city where the echoes of ancient civilizations blend seamlessly with the vibrancy of modern life. Şanlıurfa, often referred to as the “Prophet’s City,” is a mesmerizing destination in southeastern Turkey that offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and gastronomy. As someone who’s wandered through its bustling bazaars and marveled at its historic sites, I’m excited to share the top experiences that make Şanlıurfa a must-visit.

1. Explore the Mystical Pool of Abraham (Balıklıgöl)

Legend has it that the Pool of Abraham, or Balıklıgöl, is where the Prophet Abraham was cast into the fire by King Nimrod, only for God to turn the flames into water and the coals into fish. Today, the pool is a serene oasis, home to sacred fish that locals believe should never be caught or eaten. Strolling around this tranquil spot, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe at the intertwining of myth and spirituality.

2. Step Back in Time at Göbekli Tepe

Nothing quite prepares you for the wonder of Göbekli Tepe. Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, this archaeological marvel is considered the world’s oldest temple. The massive carved stones and mysterious T-shaped pillars tell a story of human ingenuity that’s simply breathtaking. It’s a humbling reminder of our place in the grand timeline of civilization.

3. Wander Through the Şanlıurfa Bazaar

Get ready to lose yourself in the labyrinthine alleys of Şanlıurfa’s bazaar. Here, the air is perfumed with the scent of spices, and the sound of craftsmen at work mingles with the chatter of locals bargaining. From handwoven textiles to gleaming copperware, the bazaar is a treasure trove for those who seek a piece of Urfa to take home.

4. Visit the Cave of Abraham

Delve into the Cave of Abraham, a site of pilgrimage revered for being the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham. The cave’s atmosphere is thick with devotion, and the flicker of candles casts a warm glow on the faces of the faithful. It’s a place that invites reflection, regardless of your beliefs.

5. Savor the Flavors of Urfa’s Cuisine

Şanlıurfa’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses. The city’s signature dish, Urfa kebab, is a must-try, with its succulent meat infused with a blend of spices that dance on the palate. Don’t miss out on the meze platters and lahmacun, often dubbed Turkish pizza, which are just as delightful.

6. Behold the Majestic Şanlıurfa Castle

Perched atop a hill, the imposing Şanlıurfa Castle offers panoramic views of the city. The castle’s walls whisper tales of empires and conquests, while the two columns known as the Throne of Nimrod stand as silent sentinels. Climbing up to the fortress is a journey through time that rewards you with a breathtaking vista.

7. Uncover History at the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum

Home to a vast collection of artifacts from the surrounding region, the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum is a gateway to the past. The exhibits, ranging from Neolithic statues to Ottoman manuscripts, are a testament to the area’s rich heritage. It’s a place where history buffs can easily while away the hours.

8. Experience the Serenity of the Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque

Nestled beside the Pool of Abraham, the Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque is a haven of peace. Its elegant minaret and domes rise gracefully against the sky, inviting visitors to step inside and experience the calm within. The mosque’s courtyard, with its verdant gardens, is a perfect spot for quiet contemplation.

9. Enjoy a Sunset at Harran

A short drive from Şanlıurfa, the ancient city of Harran is famous for its beehive-shaped houses. As the sun dips below the horizon, the golden light casts a magical glow over these unique structures. The sight is otherworldly, and the sense of history is palpable as you walk among ruins that date back to the time of the Assyrians.

10. Take Part in a Traditional Sıra Night

For a taste of local culture, join a Sıra Night, an evening of music, poetry, and storytelling. It’s a communal experience where guests sit on floor cushions, sip tea, and listen to the strumming of the saz, a traditional stringed instrument. It’s an intimate glimpse into the soul of Urfa’s cultural traditions.


  • What is the best time to visit Şanlıurfa?

    The spring and fall seasons offer pleasant weather, making them ideal for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions.

  • Is Şanlıurfa safe for tourists?

    Yes, Şanlıurfa is generally safe for tourists. However, as with any travel destination, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings and take standard safety precautions.

  • Can I visit Göbekli Tepe without a guide?

    While you can visit Göbekli Tepe on your own, hiring a guide can enrich your experience with valuable insights into the site’s history and significance.


In Şanlıurfa, every corner tells a story, and every experience is steeped in history. From the awe-inspiring ruins of Göbekli Tepe to the vibrant Şanlıurfa bazaar, this city offers a journey through time that’s as enriching as it is unforgettable. Whether you’re savoring the local cuisine or soaking in the spiritual ambiance of the Pool of Abraham, Şanlıurfa captivates the heart and soul. So pack your bags, bring your sense of wonder, and get ready to discover the best things to do in this ancient city that continues to charm travelers from around the world.

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.