The City of Prophets in Turkey

Education and history have always been two of my greatest passions, but ever since I started working as an ESL teacher in Turkey, my life has never felt so meaningful. I moved to teach in a country that shared both eastern and western traditions. There were so many things that I wanted to do and so many places that I wanted to visit, but I didn’t have a lot of time because teaching primary-level kids is a lot of work. I was able to find myself some free time though and decided to travel to the City of Prophets, Sanliurfa.

After travelling almost 1,300 kilometres, I went to the first tourist destination that I could think of—the magnificent Hazreti İbrahim Hallilullah. Apparently, the Hazreti İbrahim Hallilullah is the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. Legend says that Abraham’s mother gave birth to him here in secret because King Nimrod had been warned in a prophecy that a great leader would soon be born and so set out to kill all newborns.

It is said that anyone who kills one of the pool’s carp will go blind.

I then went to the Sacred Fish Ponds at the Gölbaşı area. In the ponds are hundreds of sacred carp that play a role in the story of the Prophet Abraham. Legend has it that when the prophet protested against King Nimrod and the idol-worshippers of Ur, Nimrod had him burnt at the stake because of his monotheistic beliefs. God then saved Abraham and had him swept up into the air through a violent storm. He then landed and the fire turned into water, and the embers turned into fish. The carp in the ponds are holy and visitors are encouraged to feed them, not kill or trouble them. It is said that anyone who kills one of the pool’s carp will go blind.

Afterwards, I walked around the city and went shopping at the bazaar—which actually had really good deals. Then I drove for almost an hour to Göbeklitepe, which is 12 kilometres from the city. I had to walk up a mountain ridge just to see what is believed to be the world’s oldest religious site. It was said that the T-shaped pillars represented stylized human beings because of the depiction of human extremities that appear on some of the pillars, but there were also others that had carvings of animals and abstract symbols. This place is definitely a must-see for people with a deep interest in history and humanities. You know, people like me.

Teach to Travel