Iconic Historical Attractions in Turkey's Southeastern Anatolia Region

This content was last updated on 16.02.2024 00:55

Historical Places in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey

Zeugma Antik Kenti (Zeugma Ancient City), Gaziantep

Zeugma Ancient City

Zeugma, with its deep-rooted history, unique sculptural works, and exceptionally rare mosaics, attracts attention and is located 57 km away from Gaziantep. Founded around 300 B.C. on the shallow banks of the Euphrates River, the ancient city maintained its significance until the 7th century A.D. Due to the vastness of the land on which it was established and the crowded nature of the city, it was considered the largest city of its time.

The art pieces that adorned the floors of houses were the reason for its designation as the "Mosaic City." You can visit a significant portion of the artifacts excavated from Zeugma at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum.

Entrance fee:

  • Every day of the week from 08:30 to 16:30

Entrance fee:

  • Museum card is valid
  • 100 TL

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Diyarbakır Surları (Diyarbakir Walls), Diyarbakır

Diyarbakır Walls

The walls, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015, stand out with their historical and natural beauty. Divided into outer and inner sections, the outer part of the walls has 82 towers, while the inner part has 19 towers. This structure, named after the central district of Diyarbakır, is one of the longest, most robust, and widest walls in the world. The walls have become the subject of many folk songs and legends, with four main entrances known as Mardin Gate, Mountain Gate, Urfa Gate, and Yeni Gate.

Göbeklitepe, Şanlıurfa


The discovery of Göbekli Tepe has led to a reevaluation of human history. The archaeological site, believed to be the world's first temple and dating back 12,000 years, has sparked significant discussions. In 2019, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism declared it the Year of Göbekli Tepe, increasing interest from both domestic and international travelers.

Opening hours:

  • Every day of the week from 09:00 to 17:00

Entrance fee:

  • 450 TL

Harran Evleri (Harran Houses), Şanlıurfa

Harran Houses

The historic Harran Houses, known for their unique architecture and cultural significance, have a history that dates back to 6000 B.C. These houses, featuring a domed structure and the use of adobe and brick together during construction, hold architectural importance. Only one of these houses is open for visitation, showcasing its unusual architecture. The house was restored in 1999 in accordance with its historical roots. By examining the belongings inside the house, you can gain insights into the region's culture. Moreover, there is a place where you can try on period clothing.

Opening hours:

  • Closed on Sundays
  • Open on other days from 10:00 to 20:00

Balıklıgöl, Şanlıurfa


Let's continue with Balıklıgöl, one of the historical places in Turkey that has the most legends and myths associated with it. Balıklıgöl, located in front of Urfa Castle, is a lake that stretches 150 meters in length and is 30 meters wide. Among the numerous stories related to this place, the most significant one is its association with Hz. Ibrahim (Abraham), whose thrown into the fire and the fire transformed into the lake, playing a crucial role in all three Abrahamic religions.

According to the legend, after being tied to catapults from Urfa Castle and thrown into the fire, the place where Hz. Ibrahim fell turns into this lake, and the firewood transforms into fish. The black spots on the fish are believed to come from the burnt wood, and they are considered sacred. That's why these fish are not eaten. Balıklıgöl is frequently visited by followers of the three Abrahamic religions, and if you haven't seen it yet, I recommend planning a visit to Şanlıurfa soon.

Nemrut Dağı (Nemrut Mountain), Adıyaman

Nemrut Mountain

Mount Nemrut, adorned with statues built by the King of Commagene to express gratitude to his ancestors and gods, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987. The summit of Nemrut, one of the places on Earth where both sunrise and sunset must be witnessed, is a tumulus and sacred area. The mountain is considered a bridge between East and West as it houses statues representing both Persian and Greek cultures on different sides.

Mor Gabriel Manastırı (Mor Gabriel Monastery), Mardin

Mor Gabriel Monastery

The monastery located in the Midyat district of Mardin, known as the "City of Tolerance," is also referred to as the Deyrulumur Monastery. Being the oldest standing Syriac monastery in the world, you cannot explore the structure without a guide. Upon entering in groups at the entrance, you can listen to information about the history, functioning, and current use of the building from the attendant inside. There are four sections that you can visit. As worship and education continue in the monastery, you can expect a quiet visit.

Opening hours:

  • Every day of the week from 09:00 to 11:30 and 13:00 to 16:30

Entrance fee:

  • 50 TL

Halfeti, Şanlıurfa


The touristic district of Halfeti in Şanlıurfa draws attention with its stone architecture and the villages submerged underwater due to the dam construction in the year 2000. To get a close look at these villages, you need to take a boat tour on the Euphrates River. The district is divided into Old and New, with the local population residing on the New side. Another touristic feature unique to this area is the black roses. Don't forget to visit Rum Kale during your visit to Halfeti!

Deyrulzafaran Manastırı (Deyrulzafaran Monastery), Mardin

Deyrulzafaran Monastery

Deyrulzafaran Monastery, holding the distinction of being one of the most important centers for Syriacs, is located 3 kilometers from the center of Mardin. Positioned overlooking the Mardin Plain, the monastery has undergone continuous additions until it reached its current state. The site, which was originally a Sun Temple dating back to ancient times, was later used as a fortress by the Romans. Deyrulzafaran began to be utilized as a monastery after the relocation of some saints' remains to this place. Formerly known as Mor Şleymun Monastery and Mor Hananyo Monastery, the current name is derived from the saffron plant cultivated in the region.

Opening hours:

  • Every day of the week from 08:30 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:30

Entrance fee:

  • 80 TL

Malabadi Köprüsü (Malabadi Bridge), Diyarbakır

Malabadi Bridge

The Malabadi Bridge, commissioned by the Artuqids, was constructed in 1147. Regarded as one of the most significant architectural and engineering marvels of the 12th century, the bridge is located within the borders of Diyarbakır. With a span of 40.86 meters, the bridge stands out as the largest stone arch bridge in the world that has reached our times. The presence of two shelter rooms on both sides of the arch for travelers and caravans passing through is another distinctive feature of the bridge. Adorned with sun and lion relief carvings, the Malabadi Bridge is undoubtedly one of the places in our country where you can embark on a journey into the past.

Hasankeyf, Batman


Located in Mesopotamia, known as one of the oldest settlements of humanity, Hasankeyf unfortunately submerged due to dam construction in the region. The exact founding date of Hasankeyf, which holds great importance in human history, cannot be precisely determined. The Arabic name "Hısnı Keyfa," meaning "City of Caves" or "City of Rocks," is associated with the city, and during the Ottoman period, it became known as Hasankeyf among the locals. Positioned along geopolitical structures and trade routes, Hasankeyf has been home to numerous civilizations over the years. The significant artifacts of Hasankeyf were relocated to the New Cultural Park Area just before the region was submerged. You can visit this area to witness what remains of Hasankeyf.

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