Ancient city of Soğmatar lures visitors
The ancient city of Sogmatar in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, known as the “City of Prophets,” attracts local and international tourists with its historical wells, rock tombs and reliefs.
Located in Eyyübiye district’s Yağmurlu neighborhood, 80 kilometers from the city center, the ancient city is believed to have been the place where Prophet Moses lived after he escaped from Pharaoh. Locals believe that Prophet Moses came together with his father-in-law, Prophet Şuayip, in this region.
A mound in the middle of the village dates back to the Chalcolithic period and is described as sacred, indicating that Soğmatar was founded before the Christian era.
The remains of the wall and bastion on the hill reveal that the mound was used as a castle for many years.
Müslüm Çoban, the head of the Regional Tourist Guides Chamber in Şanlıurfa, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that the ancient city was one of the most important historical sites in the region.
“Soğmatar is one of the most interesting and mysterious historical places in our province,” Çoban said.
Stating that the region is home to many interesting structures, Çoban said: “There are separate temples in Soğmatar, which are considered to be built for both stars and planets. There are also reliefs and sculptures believed to have been made especially for the sun and the moon god.”
Noting that the city also hosts the well of Moses and is of great importance to Jews, Çoban said: “Especially for astrologers, this ancient city is the center of attention and stands out as a remarkable historical place. There are tourist convoys coming to the region just to see Soğmatar. We host groups dealing with astronomy, who have been traveling recently, in this region. Another important feature of the Soğmatar region is that there are many rock tombs in the region.”
Mehmet Kamil Türkmen, the chairman of the Tourism Committee of Şanlıurfa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the city was an important center of polytheistic religions.
Noting that excavations in the region shed light on history, Türkmen said that a 5,000-year-old toy was found in this area a few years ago.
He said foreign visitors especially have a great interest in Soğmatar “because there are inscriptions here in Syriac on the sacred hills to worship the gods.”
“We need to develop a tourism destination in the Soğmatar region. Hopefully, in the future, we will consider the region as a whole and develop the infrastructure. We have a lot of work to do in Soğmatar, and we have very serious potential,” he added.