Turkey: Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa claims to be the oldest city on the planet (several Neolithic sites unearthed in its vicinity clearly support this claim). This is indeed an ancient city known as the Biblical town of Ur where Prophet Abraham was born and began his monotheistic teachings. The center of the city – Golbasi – is packed with religious architecture of old mosques – Rizvaniye Vakfi Mosque and Medrese and the Halilur Rahman Mosque. Between them is the sacred Abraham’s Fish Pond with thousands of sacred carp swimming in it. Also here is the Dergah Mosque complex with a cave where Abraham was born – both are very important pilgrimage sites. On the mountain above the city stand the columns of the ancient ruins of the Ling Nimrod’s Castle, the same king who burned Abraham at the stake. There is also a 12th century Grand Mosque, Selahattin Eyubi Mosque (previously St John’s Church), and even ancient cave dwellings. Attractions galore!