The Province of Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa is the home city of Harran University. It is one of the oldest settlements in the world with its history going back to 11000 years before now. The city is situated on a plain under big open skies, about eighty kilometres east of the Euphrates River. This region is known as Upper Mesopotamia or "The Fertile Crescent" and has a vast cultural heritage that combines the rich Anatolian culture with that of the Mesopotamia. The province spans an area of 18,584 km² (7,173 sq. miles), the largest province of Southeast Anatolia with Adıyaman to the north; Syria to the south; Mardin and Diyarbakır to the east; Gaziantep to the west. The population is abour 1.7 million (2006 est).

The City of Harran

The historical city of Harran is located 44 kilometers southeast of Sanliurfa and was a commercial, cultural, and religious center that witnessed important events in the history. Although Harran was once the capital of the Islam's Umayyad Dynasty, its main importance comes from being a center of attraction for renowned scientists since the non-Islamic era. Today, Harran is a valuable archaeological site. The ruins of the ancient school along with the conical-shaped local residences attract tourists from all over the world.

Harran School in History

At the School of Harran, which was regarded as the university of its time, there were important studies carried out in theology, astronomy, medicine, mathematics and philosophy. During the late 8th and 9th centuries Harran was a center for translating works of astronomy, philosophy, natural sciences, and medicine from Greek to Syriac by Assyrians, and thence to Arabic, bringing the knowledge of the classical world to the emerging Arabic-speaking civilization in the south. Baghdad came to this work later than Harran. Many important scholars of natural science, astronomy, and medicine originate from Harran.

GAP Project

Sanliurfa's current significance comes from its characteristic that it houses one of the largest integrated regional development projects in the world, namely The Southeastern Anatolian Project (abbreviated as GAP in Turkish). This state-sponsored development project involves several major components that are designed to exploit the hydropower potential of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; dramatically expand irrigation for agriculture; and develop the economy of the region. The GAP project includes 22 dams and hundreds of kilometers of irrigation works. The Sanliurfa and Harran Plains extend over an area of about 1,500 km². Irrigating these plains, which form the largest share of cultivated and cultivable land in the GAP region, is one of the most important components of GAP. Thanks to the implementation of this project, the city and its surrounding are experiencing importat developments.