Harran Town

Discover Sanliurfa and small mystical towns

The Town of Beehive Houses

Situated in the middle of a droughty and barren plain, Harran is an interesting destination for tourists with its history dating back to 5000 years, characteristic beehive houses, citadel, city walls, various architectural remains and night sky full of bright stars.


Just south of Urfa province in the Southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey, Harran is a well know town for its traditional beehive houses.

Despite the fact that it is situated in the middle of a droughty and barren plain, Harran has managed to stay alive for 5000 years. The commerce from Anatolia to Mesopotamia, and from Mesopotamia to Anatolia took place through Harran for thousands of years and provided a rich and ineradicable culture to the area.

Notably, scripture mentions that the Prophet Abraham lived here, a key figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The town was the site of one of the earliest known universities in the world. It was also the place where the Roman emperor Caracalla was murdered in 217. Harran is thought to mean crossroads in Sumerian. The town was regarded as a center of idolatry and home to the Sabians, who had a profound knowledge of astrology; its residents worshipped the moon, the sun, and the planets.

Harran is important not only for hosting early civilizations, but it is the place where the first Islamic university was founded. The traditional civil architecture is also unique.

Harran Houses

Harran is famous for its adobe houses which resemble the domed structures. These houses were built by the villagers with the mudbricks of Harran, have conic shaped roofs placed over a square base. With their natural air-conditioning, the houses keep their inhabitants cool in summer and comfortably warm in winter. Called Kumbet, these houses are shaped like beehives.

Things to Do and See

Each year, thousands of visitors come to the area to see the unique beehive houses, the tumulus, the fortress, city walls, and other historic ruins. Harran still boasts the remains of a mosque (Ulu Mosque) dating back to the Umayyad period, and an 11th century citadel. The town is also home to the ruins of one of the world's first universities, dating back to the 8th or 9th century, which was destroyed by the Mongols.

UNESCO Tentative List

Harran has been on the UNESCO Tentative List since 2000. The first excavations in Harran began in 1950. Almost 80 percent of restoration work is now completed.

  • Official Name: Harran and Sanliurfa Settlements
  • Date of Submission: 2000
  • Category: Cultural
  • Reference: 1400
  • Location: Sanliurfa, Turkey
A Town of Beehive Houses
University Ruins, Harran, Sanliurfa