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Harran Castle and University

Southern Turkey

Cultural Treasure

Harran lies on the southern border of Turkey, under 20 miles from Syria. Here stood as a strategic location for thousands of years as the crossroads of Mesopotamia and Persia. In the center of town lies the Harran Castle, built on the site of much earlier ruins of unknown origins. Even though much of the present walls date to the 13th century, the castle itself is believed to be constructed during the Roman-Byzantine period. The great mosque excavated nearby was found to be the oldest in all of Anatolia, built between 744-750. Likewise, the first Islamic university in the world is also found in this small, but historically important town. These ruins are testament to the prominence Harran had, as both a center of learning and a crossroads of faiths, as was also known as the hometown of Abraham.

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Southern Turkey, 40 km southeast of Sanliurfa and 17 km from the border of Syria.


The Castle was reconstructed in 1200 AD, although it is believed to be much older. The university had prominence in the 8th century A.D.


Both a center of learning during the early periods of Islam and a strategic fortification.


The sites are in ruins with archaeological digs still conducted. No entrance fee collected.

Our Visit

We joined locals in a dusty ride south from Sanliurfa, stopping by a Syrian refugee camp on the way. Harran, despite all its historic significance, seems as an afterthought in modern Turkey. Very little infrastructure exist, and it appears the locals have all lived here for generations upon generations. Walking through the ancient university required plenty use of imagination, as the dilapidated ruins, save for one or two structures, are hard to distinguish. I guess the Civil Engineering degree left something to be desired here.


Explore More

Nearby Treasures:

     ➨  Harran Beehive Houses - 1 km away

     ➨  Pool of Abraham- 39 km away

     ➨  Gobekli Tepe - 42 km away

Similar Treasures:

     ➨  Kars Castle - Kars, Turkey

Travel to the Silk Road Outpost:

     ➨  Urfa

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