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Urfa (also Şanlıurfa, formerly Edessa) is a city in Southeastern Anatolia, and the provincial capital of Şanlıurfa Province. The modern city of Urfa is situated about eighty kilometers east of the Euphrates River. It has a rapidly growing population. Urfa has many excellent old buildings and plenty of connections with the Old Testament and Islamic tradition. The general atmosphere and feel of the city is absolutely Middle Eastern, with all those traditional yellow stone, arched architecture, people (ladies and gentlemen alike) in Middle-East dresses, and so on… When coming from West, you’ll certainly feel like you are entering the Eastern world right in this place. People are extremely friendly, and the bazaar is great.

Since 1984, Urfa is officially renamed as Şanlıurfa (i.e. “Glorious Urfa”), which is how it is shown on maps and highway signs. Şanlıurfa is usually abbreviated to Ş.Urfa on non-official signs, such as those on buses or restaurants. However, colloquially and locally, the city is still almost always referred to Urfa.

Where to go?




Hasan Padisah Mosque


Suayb city

How can I get there?


Three flights a day into and out of Sanliurfa’s new airport: two Istanbul and one Ankara flight. Reasonably priced transfers from and to the airport with the Havas bus service. Some accommodation choices also provide free airport transfers since the airport is out of town. Flights available from Turkish Airlines:


  • From Gaziantep to Sanliurfa about 143 kilometers (km) and takes about 40 minutes to about 1 hour by car.
  • From Adana to Şanlıurfa approximately 358 kilometers (km) and takes about 15 minutes, about 4 hours by car.
  • Diyarbakir – Sanliurfa approximately 182 kilometers (km) and takes about 20 minutes for about 2 hours by car.


Buses connect to most big cities (from Mardin 4hrs and 25 TL. Free transfers to and from the bus station provide by some accommodation choices. The bus station (otogar) is outside of the city center. There is a bus running from the main bus station in the center to the otogar, which takes about 30 minutes exit the otogar and take any bus running to the left that goes to “belediye”. From here either take bus R1 to the Bazaar, or walk down Ataturk Blvd to the Bazaar. You will need a bus card (“Urfa Carta”) to use the city buses. It costs 2.50TL (possibly with enough credit for more than one trip) – make sure not to lose it as some bus drivers will not sell you one or let you onto their bus without one! A taxi costs about 20 TL.