Oringin Of The Name Sanliurfa

Şanlıurfa is commonly known with its most recent original name of Urfa, even if Şanlıurfa is the official name since 1984.

During the Independence War, Urfa inhabitants resisted the siege and organised an uprising against the French army: the heroic unrest ended the occupation of the Frenchs on 11th April 1920. Urfa was since then recorded in the history of the Republic as the “self-rescuing city” in memory of this victory and was awarded with the title of “GLORIOUS (Şanlı)” by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 22nd June 1984 and the official name of the city became since then Şanlıurfa.

Along the history, Sanliurfa has been known by many different names: from Urhay by the Assyrians to Osroene by the Romans, from Edessa by the Selefkos to Orhai by the Armenians, from Urha by the Syrians to El-Ruha by the Arabs, and finally Urfa.

The Selefkos Dynasty, founded by one of the commanders of Alexander the Great, established the city in a land full of water: from here the name of Edessa, whos meaning is, in Tracian language is “abundant in water”. The Syrian name as well (Urha) means “wetland” or “abundance of water.

Even at the period of Antiokhos IV (second century B.C.), the city was named after its richness of water as Antiokhia Epikallirhoe with the meaning of “Antiokhia with beautiful springs” in classic Greek language.

The names given to Şanlıurfa have always been associated with water and Balıklı Lake somehow. In Sumerian language, URU means “city” or “place” and HA/KUA means “fish”. And URU.HA / URU.KUA as a combination means “city with fish/place with fish”. Over the time, Uruha has probably come to be pronounced as Urha and Urfa.