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Sanliurfa – Fish Lake

Sanliurfa is 2 hours away from Gaziantep. It is known as City of Prophets. 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.

The first thing the visitors of Fish Lake do is buy fish feed from the children and throw it to the fish. These fish, believed to be sacred, live in a bigger place than it seems, as there are many canals and ponds under the park. When the weather is nice people come to the park for picnics and enjoy the open air with their kids. In this city there is a colorful and multicultural life: a mixture of Arabic, Armenian, Syriac, Turkish and Kurdish languages mix with each other.

Fish Lake is surrounded by the Rizvaniye Mosque and Medresseh, Mevlid-i Halil Mosque and Halil-Ur Rahman Mosque. Next to Mevlid-i Halil Mosque there is the cave where it is believed Abraham was born. The most popular place for tourists in Sanliurfa is this cave, which is also called the Dervish Lodge. Close to the cave there is a small mosque with its prayer room, cell and a pool in front of it. The water in the cave is drunk by the local people and the visitors, as it is believed to possess healing properties.

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