Sanliurfa

According to both the Bible and Quran it is the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, now Palestine.

This is an Anatolian city which has figured in all the religions of the book. Old Testament prophets such as Jethro (Hz. Suayp), Job (Hz. Eyup), Elijah (Hz. Elyasa) and Abraham (Hz. Ibrahim) lived in this city, which in ancient times known as Edessa, and Moses (Hz. Musa) lived in the region for seven years working as a shepherd before returning to Egypt with his staff. It was in Sanliurfa that early Christians were first permitted to worship freely, and where the first churches were constructed openly. Pagan temples were converted to synagogues, synagogues to churches and churches to mosques, resulting in a uniquely eclectic architecture.

Today, Urfa is a surprisingly mixture of the old and new, with Turkish, Arab and Kurdish peasants who come from the countryside haggling in the traditional bazaar, while young technocrats and engineers hustle between offices and shops lining the modern downtown section. A city of some 1,7 million (as of 2012), Urfa is earmarked to be one of Turkey's largest metropolitan areas after the nearby Ataturk Dam 75 km (50 mi) north of town came on-stream in the 1990's, and has the highest growth rate of population in the 2000's. Already the city has the single highest growth rate in the country, with many indigent farmers and absentee landlords from the nearby Harran plain returning with the promise of making the city the center of Turkey's new Fertile Crescent. Restaurants are packed with locals and foreigners dining on the famed Urfa kebab of Turkish Cuisine and other delights of the area.

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