Well, I’ve got it all back to front. Before one night in Urfa (see my previous post), I was Urfalı (from Urfa) for a day. So, this should have been my 5th ‘soğuk’ story, not the 6th! Blame it on my illogical flow of memories. Blame it on my gourmand-self, who felt the need for a tatlı (sweet) and acıbiberli (hot peppered) culinary torture. I tortured myself and my dear readers. Sorry for that. Am I ? No, I guess I’m not… as I’m going to continue. In the following minutes you’ll be subjected to a sıcak (hot) torture. Don’t worry, it’s not going to burn you. Although one of the characters you’ll meet a few lines below was almost set on fire. Oh, me and my big mouth! Hope I haven’t just spoiled all the magic…
Most of my ‘soğuk‘ (cold) stories were actually çok sıcak (very hot) when I lived them. And this one is far from being an exception. Because we cannot defy logic anymore. Can we close our minds/senses to Şanlıurfa’s hot climate? During summer temperatures usually reach 39 °C. Hot, hot, hot!
I’m sure that many of you have already heard about Şanlıurfa, even those who are tempted to say no. Does the ancient town Edessa ring a bell? If your answer is affirmative, I was right, you already heard about Şanlıurfa. Edessa is actually the former name of the North-West Mesopotamian Urfa, which has a long history and was part of many empires: Akkad, Sumerian, Babylonian, Hittite, Assyrian, Macedonian, Seleucid, Byzantine and Ottoman. Moreover, according to A. Cihat Kürkçüoğlu of Harran University the history of civilization began in Urfa, his argument being based on the discovery of the oldest statue in the world, ‘Balıklıgöl’ Statue, representing the ‘God of Reproduction’.
Nowadays the city is called Şanlıurfa or ‘Urfa the glorious’ (şanlı=glorious, dignified) and is home to different ethnic groups: Turks, Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds, Armenians and Zaza. Urfa could be a metaphor for diversity. Its multiple faces, architecture, cuisines and traditions form an unsettled and breathtaking mosaic. Different cultures and peoples are mixed together without losing their specificity, on the contrary the tendency is to preserve their uniqueness. It is no wonder that this place used to be called the cradle of civilization.
If my words weren’t enough convincing to put Urfa on your travel bucket list, maybe the pictures will do a better job. Follow me in the Glorious city!
People escape the burning sun rays for the shadow of the palm trees in the şehir merkezi (city center), the green oasis of the city:
We joined them for a while, making our way to the main attraction of the city, which is Abraham’s Pool or Balıklı Göl (lake of fish).At the beginning of this post I wrote that one of the characters of this story was almost set on fire. I think I owe you some explanations. The character I was talking about is the biblical Abraham (İbrahim), important figure not just in Christianity, but also in Islam and Judaism. According to the Muslim tradition, Urfa is the birthplace of Abraham. Balıklı Göl has a special significance as it is believed to be the place where Nimrod made a funeral pyre (remember the story of çiğ köfte in my previous post?) and planned to kill Abraham by throwing him into fire. God saved Abraham by turning the fire into water and the coals into fish. The fish from the pool is considered sacred and it is believed to bring luck.After visiting the pool, we had a short shopping session in the bazaar:
It was impossible to miss the Urfa biber (pepper) which is famous in Turkey for its unique taste. Although it is not that spicy like other chilli peppers, it is more flavoursome. It can be found in many colours ranging from yellow to red, purple to black.
And here’s the prove that I was an Urfalı kız (girl from Urfa) for a day 🙂 Girls love dress-up games 😛