Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

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About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Turkey, Sanliurfa
Type: Ancient Site
Epoch: Antiquity
Theme: Antiquity
World Heritage:
AntiquityAntiquityAncient Site

The city of Harran was founded around 2000 BC as a merchant outpost of Ur, situated on the major trade route across northern Mesopotamia. The name comes from the Sumerian and Akkadian "Harran-U", meaning "journey", "caravan", or "crossroad".
For centuries it was a prominent Assyrian city, known for its Temple of Sin, the Moon God.
The theology of the Harranians can be divided into three periods. The first is the Assyrian-Babylonian period from about 2000 BC up to the beginning of the Christian era. During this time Sin was the supreme deity. The second period can be noted as being from the beginning of the Christian era to the Islamic period. During this time the Harranians still clung to their belief in Sin and appear to have expanded into various sects. The third period begins in the 10th century AD. This time period gives us a wealth of information on the Harranians. Not only do the Harranians retain Sin, but also they now claim to have been descended of Abraham and note Adam among their ancestors.
Harran was mentioned in the Holy Books, and it is one of the focal points of faith tourism in Turkey. According to what is written in the Holy Books, the Prophet Abraham stayed in Harran when he was migrating from Sanliurfa towards the south. Terah, the father of the Prophet Abraham, died here. Furthermore, the foundations of the three religions of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed were laid in Harran. The traces of various civilizations founded in Mesopotamia around the historical city of Harran can be observed. The most interesting structure in Harran, an important cultural center where the first University of Islam was located, is the remains of a 40 meter observation tower from the Islamic age. Archaeological excavations in the city are continuing. Besides the Harran remains, which occupy a large area, there is Harran village with conical-shaped houses that are the symbol of the city.

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