Southeastern Anatolia

Trip Start Sep 04, 2006
Trip End Jan 2007

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Friday, October 6, 2006

After an 11 hour bus ride from Ankara, we were (literally) dropped off on the side of the road at 5:30am in the middle of nowhere, also known as Sanliurfa or "Urfa", quite possibly one of the most sketchy moments in my life. Because we were dropped off so early, it was pitch black outside and nothing to do but wait until the sun came up. We waited, all 6 of us tired,twenty-something,American,backpackers, waited inside of a random office that a man led us into because it had chairs. We really must have looked tired and confused, we were too tired to really care about the sketchiness of the situation. By about 730am, the sun was up enough for us to head on our way into older Urfa, and by older I mean the main part of the town from Abraham's time period. We severely got ripped off by the taxi drivers who took us maybe a half mile and charged way too much, but once again we were tired and did not want to think too much yet, so we gave in and paid the man. Urfa is actually known for its connection to Abraham. Legend has it that King Nimrod became angry with Abraham who destroyed many of the city's pagan idols, and had him sentenced to death. Abraham was taken to the top of the city's fortress, which sits on a tall mountain, and thrown into a burning fire at the bottom of the mountain. God however intervened and turned the fire to a lake of water and the hot coals to sacred carp, which are still there today. I have many pictures of all this because it is one of the most visited locations in Urfa, not much else actually. We hiked to the top of the fortress and stood where Abraham was thrown off to the city below. To hike to the top, we climbed all the way up a cave with winding stone carved steps into the mountain. Pretty awesome for someone like me but a claustrophobic person's worst nightmare! It took about 10 minutes to climb, in the dark only lit with small candle bulbs along the walls. So worth it though once we reached the top! The lookout shows all over Urfa and the surrounding areas. Pictures included. On to my next entry to read more... I'm splitting it up so that my map shows my different locations :)
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