Legends & Stories

It is the most famous myth of Şanlıurfa. This myth tells the story of the city’s main attraction center. Back at that time during the ruling period of the cruel king Nemrud, public were worshipping idols, while prophet Abaham was conversely opposing that, and invites them to faith in god. One day, Abraham entered the palace of King Nemrud and to smash all the idols with an ax. When King Nemrud heard that. He put Abraham on trial and condemned him to death. King Nemrud lit a huge fire in the place where Balıklıgöl is today, and has Abraham thrown into that fire by catapult from the top of Urfa’s Castle, but God’s miracle happened “fire turns into water and wood turns into fish”. As written in the Qur’an: “O fire, be coolness and safety for Abraham” (Surah, Enbiya, Aya: 69). Abraham fell safely into a rose garden. Zeliha, who believes in Abraham and is the daughter of King Nemrud, also threw herself into the fire and Ayn Zeliha (Zeliha’s Eye / Spring) is formed right next to Balıklıgöl where she fell. Because of this myth, the local people believe that the two monumental columns on the top of the castle were built during the Edessa Kingdom Period (240-242 AD), and Since fish are considered sacred, no one touches those fish.

The history of Çiğköfte, the indispensable dish of Urfa tables, is legendary. It goes back to the time of Abraham. According to the legend, King Nemrud, has forbidden collecting firewood in the city and lighting a fire in order to throw Abraham into the fire. A hunter brought the gazelle he shot home, and wife tried to beat a piece of gazelle meat on the stone and crushes it, forming the primitive form of today’s raw meatballs with a mixture of pounded meat, bulgur wheat and red pepper. The hunter liked this Çigkofte, which is prepared by pounding gazelle meat without cooking it. Thus, “Çiğköfte” has survived until today.

According to Abgar legend, V. Abgar Ukkama is the first Christian King. After a while later the notification of Jesus Christ, he accepted Christianity and he made his own people adopt it. Edessa King V. Abgar Ukkama catches the hansen disease at those times and he suffered from it much. The King hears that Jesus Christ heals the patients and he could not go to Jerusalem since he was extremely sick. He sends one of his envoy named Hannan to Jesus Christ with a letter by writing that he believes in him and that he wants to learn the new religion, and invites him. This envoy was also a painter. Hannan brings the letter to Jesus Christ and tries to draw his picture but could not. Jesus Christ likes this and washes his face and wipes his face with a handkerchief and gives Hannan the handkerchief. The copy of his face was printed on the handkerchief. Hannan takes this handkerchief with a letter and goes back to Edessa. V Abgar recovers from the illness thanks to this handkerchief. Then the handkerchief was hidden somewhere in one of the entrance gates of the city. After Islam dominated the region, sacred handkerchief was earned to Muslims. Some of the Muslims were captured in a war against Byzantines. Byzantines sets the condition of receiving the sacred handkerchief in return for releasing the prisoners. Finally, they deliver the sacred handkerchief and the prisoners were released. Some people believe that this handkerchief went to Vatican, Italy by way of İstanbul and some people believe that it is in the well hole in Grand Mosque.

According to the legend, Harran Plain and Göbeklitepe are the places where Adam and Eve came out of heaven. Adam and Eve cannot believe the beauty of the plain, where colorful flowers are like a corner of paradise. Among all these beauties, the first thing that draws their attention is the absence of a single tree. When Adam came from heaven, he brought a pomegranate and a rose branch with him… He planted them both in the middle of the plain… The pomegranate that grows immediately blooms with red flowers, while the rose is white… After a while, they get hungry. Eve opens her palm and contains a grain of wheat that she brought from heaven. They start with hope… Adam makes a rosewood plow. However, it is such a tiring job that there is no cure. At that moment, an ox appears next to them and stretches its neck as if to say “use me” … Here is the Harran Plain, where people first set foot, where the plow was used for the first time, where the ox was harnessed for the first time… The sanctity of wheat, rose and pomegranate in this region is because they came from heaven… According to a legend, it is believed that while the Harran madrasas were being built, rose water was added to the foundation mortar and when it rains, these places are filled with the scent of roses.