Population of Birecik on the bank of the Euphrates river According to the data of TUİK in 2016, the population is 93,668. An important feature of Birecik is that it is one of the few places where nesting birds naturally live in the world. Because of the availability of tiracic surface forms and its location on the edge of the Euphrates has been the scene of important settlements throughout history. Birecik, who was in the hands of the Hittites in the 2nd, passed through the Assyrians in the 9th century BC. Birecik, respectively, experienced the Roman and Byzantine sovereignty of Persia Macedonia. In 780 the Arab occupation was over.
After the reign of Seljuks in the 11th century AD, it was again reigned by Byzantium. Artuklu Ayyubi The Safavid sovereignty which started in 1502 followed the Akkoyunlu and Karakoyunlu periods. Birecik joined the Ottoman lands in 1517. In 1919 the British occupied for a while 19th century. Şanlıurfa İline was connected with the Republic while the Aleppo province was an accident related to the Urfa sancağ. Birecik Castle is the only important historical building in the city. The Assyrians passed through repairs during various periods of time. There are 12 bastions on the walls of 30-40 m height made of large cutting stones.
It is constructed on a natural, hard limestone rocky hill on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. It has two parts: inner castle and exterior castle. The exterior castle was constructed by the Seleucids (298-236 BC). It is accepted that the inner castle was constructed in the 13th century. Due to its white limestone colour, it was also called White Castle (Kal’etül Beyza/Beyda). The exterior castle was repaired three times by the Romans (30 BC-395 AD), the Francs (1098-1150) and the Mamluks (1277-1484). It has a total of 4 gates and 12 bastions. Alaburç, one of these bastions, has recently been restored.
Bald Ibis Breeding Station
Bald ibis breeding station, which is located on 3rd km of Birecik – Halfeti Road, is the living environment of the endangered species of bald ibis. Recently there are last remaining 250 birds living in the station. The station releases these birds during their reproduction period that is in spring and summer. And in autumn, when it is time for migration of these birds, they are taken into aviaries to be feed throughout the winter. The bald ibis survive here as a semi-wild community because they are not allowed to migrate. They have their nests on rock faces just next to the Euphrates. You can freely visit this centre which is directed by the Directorate General of National Conservation and National Parks. You can relax while drinking tea, coffee and cold drinks at the centre’s café, get detailed information about the bald ibis and the centre from voluntary guide of the centre Mustafa Çulcuoğlu, and buy souvenirs.
Birecik is an ideal living environment for wild animal species due to its steps, the Euphrates, perfect climate and semi-desert vegetation. The most interesting of these animals are the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), the desert monitor (Varanus griseus), Williams’ Jerboa (Alactaga williamsi) and the long-eared hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus). These species are endangered and it not possible to see them in other parts of Turkey. During migration periods, endangered and very rarely seen species such as Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), Great Bustard (Otis tarda) and Cream-coloured Cursor (Cursorius cursor) can be observed in steps of Birecik. On the other hand, during spring, Birecik steps are full of numerous butterfly and plant species.
Keloşk / Deyr Şebek Ruins
Deyr Şebek, which is situated in proximity to Inceler Village of Birecik, is known as “Keloşk”, which means “Small Castle”, by locals. There are two ruins and a rock-cut tomb in this area dating back to the Roman period. Along with “Keçiburcu” and “Harapsor” ruins, the structure built in a position to watch the surrounding is estimated to be a police station from the Roman period.