Harran’s historical houses to serve tourism
Historical structures in the southeastern province of Şanşıurfa’s Harran district are being revived. Considered one of the oldest settlements in the world, the city has been home to various civilizations since 6000 B.C., as well as the Assyrian and Umayyad capital.
Within the scope of the Urban Design Project, on which many organizations have been working on for two years, the historical structures in the district will be restored to their original form and serve tourism. Among these structures are conical domed houses, built on square or almost-square grounds, Ulu Mosque, also known as Firdevs Mosque and the madrasah next to it.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Mayor Deputy Secretary General Mehmet Emin Özçınar said lots of institutes have been collaborating in the city to make Harran a center of attraction. He said the Urban Design Project has been an important project carried out by the municipality.
Özçınar said they had also supported the excavations carried out by the Harran University Archaeology Department.
“The municipality provides support to two excavations in the district. The first one is the excavations next to the madrasah. A historic bath and the ruins of a madrasah have so far been unearthed during these works. The other is the excavations in the skirts of the castle at the entrance of Harran. We will also restore 12 domed Harran houses, which have been handed over to our municipality by the Culture and Tourism Ministry and open them up for tourism,” he said.
Özçınar said the construction of a 25-bed capacity hotel had begun.
“When all these works are finished, Harran will receive its share from tourism. We have made a great effort to promote the cultural heritage of Harran to the world,” he said.
The mayor said they had also attempted to prevent concretion in Harran.
“With efforts by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, a committee will be formed under the presidency of the Şanlıurfa Governor’s Office. This committee is very important for preventing concretion in historical areas like Harran and in order to protect them. Şanlıurfa has a long history. The history of mankind began in Göbeklitepe 12,000 years ago. The first farmers and settlers were in the Harran lowland. There are ruins of 19 civilizations in the city center. These ruins reveal the importance of the city,” said Özçınar.
The head of the Association for the Protection and Promotion of Harran Houses, Ahmet Özyavuz, said restoration of the conical domed houses would begin soon.
He said Harran was home to thousands of tourists thanks to its historical texture.
“The architecture of these houses is not common in the world. It is known the houses are suitable for every season and people can live in them comfortably. It is very important to protect these houses and open them to tourism as tourists want to see life in them,” said Özyavuz.