Şanlıurfa Province

Şanlıurfa Province (Turkish: Şanlıurfa ili) or simply Urfa Province is a province in southeastern Turkey. The city of Şanlıurfa is the capital of the province which bears its name. The population is 1,845,667 (2014).

The province is famous for its Abrahamic sites such as Balıklıgöl, where Prophet Abraham was cast by Nimrod into fire that is believed to have turned to water, and Mevlid-i Halil Mosque where Abraham was born in the cave next to the mosque. Also lying within the district, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa, is the pre-historic site of Göbekli Tepe, where continuing excavations have unearthed 12,000-year-old sanctuaries dating from the early Neolithic period, considered to be the oldest temples in the world, predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years.

Population in 1990 was 1,001,455; 551,124 in the district centers, 450,331 in rural villages. By 2000, the population of Şanlıurfa province had grown to 1,436,956 and that of Urfa city, 829,000. Its provincial capital is the city of Urfa, the traffic code is 63.

Şanlıurfa Province

Şanlıurfa ili
Location of Şanlıurfa Province in Turkey
Location of Şanlıurfa Province in Turkey
RegionSoutheastern Anatolia
 • Electoral districtŞanlıurfa
 • GovernorGüngör Azim Tuna
 • Total18,584 km2 (7,175 sq mi)
 • Total2,035,809
 • Density110/km2 (280/sq mi)
Area code(s)00414
Vehicle registration63


Şanlıurfa province is divided into 13 districts (capital district in bold):


Area 18,584 km² (7,173 sq. miles), the largest province of Southeast Anatolia with:

Şanlıurfa includes several major components of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (in Turkish Güneydogu Anadolu Projesi (GAP)) designed to:

  • exploit the hydropower potential of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers;
  • dramatically expand irrigation for agriculture; and
  • develop the economy of the region.

This very large-scale, state-sponsored development project involved the damming, redirecting, hydroelectric tapping and other utilization of rivers in this broad, semi-arid region. (The rivers then flow into Syria and Iraq). The GAP project includes 22 dams, hundreds of miles of irrigation works.

Even before GAP, Şanlıurfa Province had the largest share of cultivated and cultivable land in the GAP region, due to its flatness and highly fertile, agricultural land. The Şanlıurfa and Harran Plains extend over an area of about 1,500 km² (579 sq. miles). Irrigating these plains is one of the most important components of GAP.

According to the 1990 census, Şanlıurfa Province contained 148,521 households, and the average household size was 6.74 persons. 71% of household heads described their occupation as farming. In 1992, Şanlıurfa had the highest concentration of land ownership in Turkey, with a landless rate of 48%. While 5% of the families in the province owned 65% of the land, the vast majority (70%) owned only 10%.

Şanlıurfa’s average annual growth rate between 1985 and 1990 was 4.6%, considerably higher than both the national and regional averages.


The province has a population, consisting of Kurds, Arabs, Turks and Yazidi. Kurds are estimated to make up 47% of the population.[2]


With Şanlıurfa once being a relatively competitive province between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the True Path Party (DYP), it is now one of the most solid AKP provinces.

While the AKP managed to win Şanlıurfa with a comfortable 43.04% during the 2004 local elections, it has since then increased its margins of victory here. Following the diminishing popularity of smaller parties such as the DYP, Şanlıurfa heavily shifted towards the AKP, winning the November 2015 election with 64.55% of the votes. Şanlıurfa once again showed its status as an AKP stronghold in the 2017 referendum, with the Yes vote winning with a wide margin of 41.8%.

The Kurdish left-wing Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) succeeded increasing its vote share since the 2004 election. With the Democratic People's Party (DEHAP) winning just 16.95% of the votes in the 2004 local elections, the HDP came second with 28.46% in the November 2015 general election.

The far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) scored an exceptional 7.18% in the 1999 local elections. Its vote share eventually ebbed to a more usual 2.97% in the 2004 local elections. The MHP showed a significant recovery in the indecisive June 2015 election by winning 5.56% of the votes. However, the MHP went on to suffer from a nationwide loss in the upset November 2015 election, with its vote share declining to 2.75% in Şanlıurfa.

The centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) usually maintains a modest share of slightly below 5%. Similar to the other two opposition parties, the CHP suffered a loss in Şanlıurfa, going from 4.10% in the June 2015 election to 2.70% in the November 2015 election.

The current mayor of Şanlıurfa is Nihat Çiftçi (AKP). Çiftçi survived an assassination attempt perpetuated by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 28 September 2015.

Places of interest

The following tombs and sacred spots are located within the province:[3]


Pool Urfa Turkey
Balıklı Göl and Ridwaniya Mosque
Balıklıgöl Urfa
Balıklı Göl (Fish Pond) and people
Dergah Camii, Sanliurfa
Mevlid-i Halil (Birth of Abraham) Mosque
Selahaddin eyyubi camii urfa
Salahaddin Mosque
Urfa's central market
Traditional Narrow Streets
Urfa's retailers
Harran District

See also


  1. ^ "Population of provinces by years - 2000-2018". Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. ^ Watts, Nicole F. (2010). Activists in Office: Kurdish Politics and Protest in Turkey (Studies in Modernity and National Identity). Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-295-99050-7.

External links


Akçakale (Arabic: تل أبيض‎) Tal Abyaḍ, is an ethnic Arab town and a district of Şanlıurfa Province, in southeastern Turkey.

It lies on the road TUR-D-885. Akçakale forms a divided city with Tell Abyad in Syria, maintaining a border crossing. In October 2014, reporters for the Sunday Herald newspaper in Scotland, Sheren Khalel and Matthew Vickery, documented self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant presence in the town, due to the porous nature of the border between the Turkish border town and Tell Abyad, which has been under ISIS control until June 15, 2015, when the city was retaken by Kurdish People's Protection Units.

The mayor is Abdülhakim Ayhan (AKP).

Apamea (Euphrates)

Apamea or Apameia (Greek: Απάμεια) was a Hellenistic city on the left (viz., the eastern) bank of the Euphrates, opposite the famous city of Zeugma, at the end of a bridge of boats (Greek: Ζεῦγμα zeugma) connecting the two, founded by Seleucus I Nicator (Pliny, v. 21). The city was rebuilt by Seleucus I. The site, once partially covered by the village of Tilmusa (formerly Rumkale), Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey, is now flooded by the lake formed by the Birecik Dam (Birejik Dam).The ancient term Zeugma actually referred to the twin cities on the opposing banks of the river. Today the name Zeugma is usually understood to refer to the settlement on the west bank, called Seleucia (Greek: Σελεύκεια) after the founder, while the one on the East bank was called Apamea after his Persian wife Apama.

Birecik Dam

The Birecik Dam, one of the 21 dams of the Southeastern Anatolia Project of Turkey, is located on the Euphrates River 60 km (37 mi) downstream of Atatürk Dam and 8 km (5.0 mi) upstream of Birecik town 80 km (50 mi) west of Province of Şanlıurfa in the southeastern region of Turkey. It was purposed for irrigation and energy production. There is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plant, established in 2001, at the dam, with a power output of 672MW (six facilities at 112 MW each) can generate an average of 2.5 billion kWh per year. The Birecik dam is a structure consisting of a concrete gravity and clay core sandgravel fill with a height of 62.5 m (205 ft) from the foundation. It was designed by Coyne et Bellier. The total catchment area is 92,700 ha (358 sq mi). The Birecik project will be realized under the status of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model.

The dam was built on top of the ruins of the ancient city of Zeugma. According to Bogumil Terminski (2015), the construction of the dam resulted in resettlement of approximately 6,000 people.


Ceylanpınar (Arabic: رأس العين‎ Ra's al 'Ayn, Kurdish: Serêkanî‎, Ottoman Turkish: رأس العين‎ Resülayn) is a district of Şanlıurfa Province in southeastern Turkey. On the border with Syria, it is reached by a long straight road D.905 across the plain south from Viranşehir. It forms a divided city with Ra's al-'Ayn in Syria and there is a border crossing.

The district covers an area of 2,003 km2 (773 sq mi) and has a population of 69,774 (2000 census), of whom 44,258 live in the town of Ceylanpınar itself.

Constantia (Osrhoene)

Constantia or Konstantia (Ancient Greek: Κωνσταντία) was a town of some importance in the province Osrhoene in Mesopotamia, on the road between Nisibis and Carrhae, at no great distance from Edessa. It was, after his departure from Nisibis, the residence of the dux Mesopotamiae until the foundation of Dara. There is considerable variation in different authors in the way in which the name of this town is written and the names under which it is known, including: Constantia or Konstantia (Κωνσταντία), Constantina or Konstantina (Κωνσταντίνα), Antoninopolis, Nicephorium or Nikephorion (Νικηφόριον), Maximianopolis (Μαξιμιανούπολις), Constantinopolis in Osrhoene, Tella and Antiochia Arabis, Antiochia in Mesopotamia (Ἀντιόχεια τῆς Μεσοποταμίας – Antiocheia tes Mesopotamias) and Antiochia in Arabia (Ἀντιόχεια ἡ Ἀραβική – Antiocheia e Arabike).According to Pliny it was founded by Seleucus I Nicator after the death of Alexander the Great. According to the Byzantine historian John Malalas, the city was built by the Roman Emperor Constantine I on the site of former Maximianopolis, which had been destroyed by a Persian attack and an earthquake. Jacob Baradaeus was born near the city and was a monk in a nearby monastery.Under the names Constantina and Tella, it was also a bishopric, suffragan of Edessa; some names of early bishops have been preserved, including Sophronius who attended the Council of Antioch in 445. No longer a residential bishop, it remains a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church under the name Constantina. The city was captured by the Arabs in 639.Its site is near the modern Viranşehir, Turkey.


Edessa (; Ancient Greek: Ἔδεσσα, romanized: Édessa; Arabic: الرها‎, romanized: ar-Ruhā; Turkish: Şanlıurfa; Kurdish: Riha) was a city in Upper Mesopotamia, founded on an earlier site by Seleucus I Nicator ca. 302 BC. It was also known as Antiochia on the Callirhoe from the 2nd century BC. It was the capital of the semi-independent kingdom of Osroene from c. 132 BC and fell under direct Roman rule in ca. 242. It became an important early centre of Syriac Christianity.

It fell to the Muslim conquest in 638, was briefly retaken by Byzantium in 1031 and became the center of the Crusader state of the County of Edessa from 1098–1144. It fell to the Turkic Zengid dynasty in 1144 and was eventually absorbed by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. The modern name of the city is Urfa and it is located in Şanlıurfa Province in the Southeast Anatolia Region of Turkey.

Hacıhıdır Dam

Hacıhıdır Dam is a dam in Turkey. The development was backed by the Turkish State Hydraulic Works.


Harran, ancient Carrhae, was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is near the modern village of Altınbaşak, Turkey, 44 kilometers southeast of Şanlıurfa. The location is in the Harran district of Şanlıurfa Province.

A few kilometers from the village of Altınbaşak are the archaeological remains of ancient Harran, a major commercial, cultural, and religious center first inhabited in the Early Bronze Age III (3rd millennium BCE) period. The city was called Hellenopolis (Ancient Greek: Ἑλληνόπολις meaning "Greek city") in the Early Christian period. It is mentioned, in Movses Khorenatsi's and Mikayel Chamchian's History of Armenia, as being under the authority of prince Sanadroug, the sovereignty of which he assigned to Queen Helena of Adiabene.

Karkamış Bridge

The Karkamış Bridge (Turkish: Karkamış Köprüsü) is a Parker-truss bridge carrying the Çobanbey-Nusaybin railway across the Euphrates in southeastern Turkey.

The bridge was built by the Baghdad Railway between 1911-13 in the Ottoman Empire and played an important role for transporting troops and supplies during World War I, as it was the only permanent crossing of the Euphrates in the area. After the war, the bridge and the railway fell under British military control until the Allies withdrew their forces from Turkey. The French-owned Chemins de fer de Cilicie Nord-Syrie, headquartered in French Syria (CNS) took over the railway in 1921 and operated the route until being sold to the Turkish-owned Southern Railway in 1933. This new company owned and operated the railway until being absorbed by the Turkish State Railways in 1948.When first completed, the structure was the second longest bridge in the Ottoman Empire and later Turkey, after Uzunköprü Bridge in East Thrace.

Karkamış Dam

Karkamış Dam is one of the 21 dams of the Southeastern Anatolia Project of Turkey. It is on the Euphrates River. The foundation of the dam was laid in 1996, and is 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi) from the Syria border. The hydroelectric power plant has a total installed power capacity of 189 megawatts (253,000 hp).

Nevalı Çori

Nevalı Çori was an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates, in Şanlıurfa Province, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. The site is known for having some of the world's oldest known communal buildings and monumental sculpture. Together with the earlier site of Göbekli Tepe, it has revolutionised scientific understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic period. The oldest domesticated Einkorn wheat was found there.The settlement was located about 490 m above sea level, in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, on both banks of the Kantara stream, a tributary of the Euphrates.


Siverek (Zaza Language | Sêwreg) is a city and district in the south-east of Turkey, in Şanlıurfa Province. Population 107,634 (city); 247,000 (district) (2000 census).

Siverek is in Şanlıurfa province but closer geographically to the large city of Diyarbakır (approx 83 km). In the Ottoman Empire period Siverek was within Diyarbekir Vilayet, and the people of Siverek are said to be reluctant to accept being part of Şanlıurfa even today.In the countryside, the people are mostly ethnically Zaza Kurds with a small number of Arabs and Turks. The people are poor and live by working in the fields here and as sharecroppers in the villages of neighbouring Diyarbakır.


The ancient temple-complex, perhaps of Huzirina, now represented by the tell of Sultantepe, is a Late Assyrian archeological site at the edge of the Neo-Assyrian empire, now in Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey. Sultantepe is about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Urfa on the road to Harran. The modern village of Sultantepe Köyü lies at the base of the tell.

Tek Tek Mountains National Park

Tek Tek Mountains National Park (Turkish: Tek Tek Dağları Milli Parkı), established on May 29, 2007, is a national park in southeastern Turkey. It is located in Şanlıurfa.The national park covers an area of 19,335 ha (47,780 acres).


Urfa, officially known as Şanlıurfa (pronounced [ʃanˈɫɯuɾfa]; Kurdish: Riha; Armenian: Ուռհա, romanized: Uṙha; Classical Syriac: ܐܘܪܗܝ‎, romanized: Ūrhay) and known in ancient times as Edessa, is a city with a population of over 2 million residents in south-eastern Turkey, and the capital of Şanlıurfa Province. Urfa is a multiethnic city with a Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and Arab population. Urfa is situated on a plain about eighty kilometres east of the Euphrates River. Its climate features extremely hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters.


Viranşehir (Kurdish: Wêranşar‎) is a market town serving a cotton-growing area of Şanlıurfa Province, in southeastern Turkey, 93 km east of Şanlıurfa city and 53 km north-west of the Syrian border at Ceylanpınar. In Late Antiquity, it was known as Constantina or Constantia (Greek: Κωνσταντίνη) by the Romans and Byzantines, and Tella by the local Assyrian/Syriac population, but is today inhabited predominantly by ethnic Kurds and Arabs.

Şanlıurfa Archaeology and Mosaic Museum

Şanlıurfa Archaeology and Mosaic Museum is a museum in Şanlıurfa (also known as Urfa), Turkey. The museum contains remains of Şanlıurfa (known as Edessa in antiquity), Harran (another ancient city which lies 44 kilometres (27 mi) southeast of Şanlıurfa), and ruins found in the hydroelectric dam reservoirs of Atatürk Dam, Birecik Dam and Karkamış Dam.

Şanlıurfa GAP Airport

Şanlıurfa GAP Airport (IATA: GNY, ICAO: LTCS) is an airport located in Şanlıurfa Province, Turkey. It is located about 18.3 nautical miles (33.9 km; 21.1 mi) northeast of the city centre of Şanlıurfa.

The airport is part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (Turkish: Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, known as "GAP"), a regional development project in the area of the Atatürk Dam. The new airport is known as the "GAP airport" because it is designed to service the workers in the GAP project as well as the city of Şanlıurfa. Opened the 17 June 2007, it replaced the old Şanlıurfa Airport (IATA: SFQ, ICAO: LTCH), which was located 9 km (5.6 mi) south of the city.Şanlıurfa GAP Airport has the longest runway in Turkey

The airport facilities include cafes, car hire offices, and airline ticket offices, but almost all facilities, including even the taxi rank, are staffed only when flights are due.

The airport operates special flights to Saudi Arabia during Hajj and Umrah season to Jeddah Airport and Medina Airport

Şanlıurfa Irrigation Tunnels

Şanlıurfa Irrigation tunnels is the name of a major irrigation tunnel constructed in connection with the Southeastern Anatolia Project, a multi-sector integrated regional development project of Turkey. The tunnels were commissioned by the State Hydraulic Works authority (DSİ). The constructor was Eren İnşaat. The construction ended by 19 December 2005 and the tunnels were put into service.

Şanlıurfa Province of Turkey


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