Mesopotamia / Cities /
Other spelling: Carrhae
Harran ranks among the oldest settlements of the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 6,000 years.
Modern Harran is merely a village, with about 3,000 inhabitants (2006 estimate). It is situated on Balikh River, 40 km southeast of Sanliurfa. The reason for this decline, is partly because of damming and irrigation projects in Turkey, which has weakened conditions for agriculture in the Balikh Valley.
Harran is a place of legends and myths, and stories go that Adam and Eve came here after being expelled from the Garden og Eden. It is mentioned in the Bible, said to the be place Abraham's family settled after leaving Ur (Genesis 11:31-32). Abraham's father, Terah, is told to have died in Harran.
In Mesopotamian religion, Harran was the main cult centre of the moon-god, Sin.
Harran early on became an important Christian town, but a large percentage of the population retained their ancient religion upon the arrival of Islam. As Islam does not tolerate religions outside the Ahl al-Kitab, the Harran locals would in the 9th century claim to be Sabaeans, an unidentified religion mentioned among the Ahl al-Kitab.
Harran is the centre of a region of a special type of architecture, the so-called beehive adobe houses, built to create a cool interior. The construction technique may go 3,000 years back in time. Of old Harran, much less still stands. There are some ruins of the city, parts of the fortifications with one of the city gates. There are also remains of an 8th century mosque and a 11th century Crusader fortress.
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