Sanliurfa Museum houses very important pieces about the history of humanity. Archaeology claimed that civilization sparked the religion but the excavations around Sanliurfa proved otherwise. Gobeklitepe's excavations showed us that religion sparked the civilization more than 12 thousand years ago. Archaeology does not clearly identify the motivation of the Neolithic communities who built Gobeklitepe without proper tools. As a result, archaeologists are looking for a more divine power encouraging people to erect five-meter tall towers surrounding a certain area that can be used for rituals. Pieces of clay, flintstones and remains of people who worked in the construction of the first temple of the world are seen in the museum today. Besides the replica of the Gobeklitepe, you can see the Urfa Man statue and the evolution of trade in Upper Mesopotamia thanks to the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
Where is Şanlıurfa Museum?
Sanliurfa Museum was a very small building very close to the old town. During the rehabilitation of the neighboring areas of the Holy Pool of Prophet Abraham, people encountered many mosaics, artifacts, and statues from the ancient Edessa. Especially Urfa Man is a very special find among them. Meanwhile, excavations of Gobeklitepe were growing and Culture and Tourism Ministry needed a bigger place to exhibit all these important finds. The animal market next to the old town was used to build an archaeological park. During rehabilitation Roman mosaics were found a few meters below the ground and they are protected with a huge roof today at their original place which is the annex of the Sanliurfa Museum. You use the same ticket to see the mosaics underneath the dome next to the Museum. Unlike the old town of Sanliurfa, the Museum has a huge parking area which makes visiting the Holy Pool of Prophet Abraham and the old town very easy. Şanliurfa city itself is located 2 hours away from Gaziantep, Mardin, and Adiyaman provinces which are other main tourist attractions of a tour in the southeast of the Republic of Turkey. Gap airport of Sanliurfa is located only 40 kilometers away from Sanliurfa Museum. GAP airport is a very convenient airport to start your tour in Mesopotamia of Turkey as it is located in the middle of the popular destinations of the fertile crescent.
What to see in Sanliurfa Museum?
Sanliurfa museum houses relics of the civilizations who ruled in the area such as the Romans, Seljuks, and Ottomans. The most important artifact of the Sanliurfa Museum is the Urfa Man statue. The replica of Gobeklitepe is breathtaking itself as you really feel the original height of the pillars of Gobeklitepe. On the way to the hall of Gobeklitepe, you can see that people practiced their limestone carving skills even before building Gobeklitepe. Exhibition halls presenting the river traders, first farmers, glass blowing, and kick wheel ateliers are very informative. The stele of Nabonidus is a very important piece of the Sanliurfa Museum. He was the last Babylonian king who was defeated by Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE. His stele was found in Harran and depicts Nabonidus worshipping Ishat and Sin which were the sun and the moon gods of Mesopotamia. The stele writes that Sin ordered Nabonidus to rebuild some temples in Harran and other Mesopotamian cities. As he is considered the first archeologist of the world, his stele by the artifacts of the first temple of the world is a beautiful coincidence. Last, before your exit, the museum, impressive wood and stone carvings of the Turkish communities are seen in the Museum. After you exit the museum, you should walk to the right and visit the hall of mosaics.
What is the importance of Urfa Man Statue?
The Urfa Man statue was found during the excavations conducted around the Balikligol of Sanliurfa. Balikligol stands for Fish lake which is the local name of the Holy Pool of Prophet Abraham. The age of the statue is nothing besides its actual importance. It is the oldest naturalistic life-sized sculpture of a human ever found in the world. The statue dates back to the same time frame as the ancient sites such as Gobeklitepe and Nevali Cori nearby Sanliurfa. The statue is almost two meters tall and the artist placed obsidian stones to the eye sockets of the statue. There are older statues found in different parts of the world but none is carved as the original form of an average man of its era. I hope archaeology will decipher more about the Urfa Man statue, Gobeklitepe, and Nevali Cori in the near future.
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