Photographer's Note

For most travelers Harran and the beehive houses are the end of an expedition into the semi-desert around Urfa. With your own transport, however, you might like to continue east towards Soğmater following a road that has only been asphalted in the last few years but now has clear brown tourist-attraction signs to guide you. If you do this, your first stop along the way would be at what is signed as the Bazda Mağarası (Bazda Caves) but is actually a vast ancient quarry in an abandoned village, dating back to 13th century, though the locals say it dates back to Roman times.

These large caves lie 18 km. Northeast of Harran on a road named for the Han-e Barür Caravanserai, and have gradually come into being over the centuries as stone was quarried for construction in the cities of Harran and Şuayb. The largest of the caves in places has two levels, and is made up of long galleries and tunnels.

Bazda has a biblical quality to it. Great overhanging rockfaces have lines chiseled across them where the stone was sliced away not just to create Harran, but also for Urfa, and for the nearby Han-el Ba’rür caravanserai and Şuayb Şehri.

It's an extraordinarily peaceful, evocative place where sparrowhawks nest on the ledges, blue rollers flash sapphire across the sandy backdrop, and panting, weary sheep take refuge from the blazing heat in vast man-made caverns. Bring good shoes if you want to explore properly.


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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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