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Photographer's Note

Last week, i was in Sanliurfa (Urfa, shortly), a beautiful and a very old city in the southeastern part of my country. I attended a congress about polymers in Harran University. After the congress, i had the chance to visit Syria as well. In the following days, i'll share photos from Damascus and Aleppo as well as photos from Sanliurfa.

Here, you see two native ladies with traditional clothings. The place is Balikligol (The Pool of Sacred Fish - neighbouring a smaller pool - Lake Aynzeliha), a sacred place for Muslims (there are numerous important sacred places in the city).

Lying southwest of the city center, these two lakes are known as the spot where Abraham fell when he was cast into the flames, and thanks to their sacred fish and the historical monuments in their vicinity attract more tourists than any other place in Urfa. Lake Halil-ür Rahman is graced by a special beauty due to the Rizvaniye Mosque on its northern shore, and the Halil-ür Rahman Mosque and Madrasa at its southwestern corner. The pool is in the courtyard of the mosque of Halil-ur-Rahman, built by the Ayyubids in 1211 and now surrounded by attractive gardens designed by architect Merih Karaaslan. The fish are not a pretty sight as they thrash about frantically devouring bread thrown by visitors. But the courtyard is very peaceful and it is said that if you see a white fish you will go to heaven.

The Legend:

When the Prophet Abraham opposed the cruel ruler Nimrod, and defended the idea of a single God in an attempt to woo the people from their idols, Nimrod cast him into the flames from the hill on which the citadel now stands. But God commanded the fire to be cool and healthful (The Holy Koran, Enbiya, Verse 69), upon which the fire turned to water and the firewood to fish, and Abraham fell unscathed into a rose garden. According to legend, Nimrod’s daughter Zeliha believed in Abraham way and therefore threw herself into the flames; the place she fell became Lake Aynzeliha. Visitors hold the fish in both lakes to be sacred, and will neither inflict harm on nor eat them.

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Additional Photos by Deniz Taskin (rigoletto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3085 W: 400 N: 6725] (34279)
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