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Harran (Turkey)
Red pog.svg
Typical houses in the old town
Basic data
Province (il) : Şanlıurfa
Coordinates : 36 ° 52 '  N , 39 ° 2'  E Coordinates: 36 ° 51 '52 "  N , 39 ° 1' 58"  E
Surface: 704 km²
Residents : 7,370 (2008)
Population density : 10 inhabitants per km²
Telephone code : (+90) 414
Postal code : 63 xxx
License plate : 63
Structure and administration (status: 2009)
Mayor : Ibrahim Özyavuz ( MHP )
Harran County
Residents : 61,520 (2008)
Surface: 1,054 km²
Population density : 58 inhabitants per km²
Kaymakam : Serkan Keçeli
Website (Kaymakam):
Template: Infobox location in Turkey / maintenance / district

Harran ( Arabic حران, DMG Ḥarrān ; akkad. Harrānu ; sum. URU KASKAL ; Greek Κάρραι Karrhai ; Latin Carr (h) ae ; Hebrew חרן Ḫaran ) is a city and a district in the Turkish province of Şanlıurfa in northern Mesopotamia . The today insignificant city is the successor settlement of the famous ancient place of the same name, of which many remains have been preserved, especially near the border with Syria . It is also particularly known for its beehive-shaped houses. Harran is located about 44 km southeast of the provincial capital Şanlıurfa . The population of the city is 7,370 and that of the district 61,520 (as of the end of December 2008). The population consists mainly of Arabs .


Old Testament / Tanachian tradition

Harran is most likely the biblical Haran mentioned several times . In the Jewish Tanakh , whose tradition in Christianity forms the Old Testament , Haran appears as the place where the Terach family settles after they emigrated from Ur ( Gen 11:31  EU ). Terach dies in Harran at the age of 205 (Gen 11:32). From there the patriarch Abraham moves on to Canaan ( Gen 12.4  EU ) with everything he and his family acquired in Harran (Gen 12.5) after God promised him in Harran that he would lead him to a rich country . Abraham's grandson Jacob flees from his twin brother Esau back to Haran ( Gen 27.43-44  EU and Gen 28.10  EU ; Gen 29.4) and finds the Jacob's pillow and Jacob's ladder .

In addition, Harran appears in a list in which the cities and areas occupied by Sennacherib are enumerated ( 2 Kings 19.12  EU ; Isa 37.12  EU ). And in the lament over Tire , Haran is mentioned as a trading partner ( Ez 27.23  EU ).

On the question of the biblical place name Haran , which seems to resemble the name of a brother of Abraham, see under name similarity in the article on Haran .

Old Orient

The place, located on the northern edge of the fertile Mesopotamian plain, was already in the 3rd millennium BC. Settled. His Akkadian name Harrānu stands for both "journey" and "caravan". Possibly it is a folk etymology of an older name. Harran has functioned as a travel and trading station between Carchemish on the Euphrates and Nineveh on the Tigris at least since the ancient Babylonian period .

The village is probably mentioned for the first time in texts from Ebla as Ha-ra-an KI or Har-ra-nu KI and can also be found in the Mari letters of Zimri-Lim , where it was part of the Zalmaqqum city ​​federation . The temple of the moon god Sin is already mentioned at this time . There was the stone sacred to this god, which was worshiped as part of the stone cult . (If Western sources and partly also in modern literature speak of a moon goddess , then this is probably an error that can be traced back to the fact that the Greeks and Romans thought the moon was female.)

Since the end of the 18th century BC The Hurrites from the Zagros and Taurus Mountains bordering to the north established themselves in northern Mesopotamia . During the 15th and 14th centuries, Harran was part of the Mittani Empire.

Towards the end of the 14th century BC Chr. Harran was founded by the Hittites under Suppiluliuma I. destroyed. After that, the region came under the control of the Assyrians . Salmānu-ašarēd III. renewed the lunar sanctuary around 850, and the city became an important center of the Assyrian Empire. Under Aššur-uballiṭ II. Harran was the last seat of the Assyrians before it was rebuilt in 608 BC. Was occupied by the allied Medes and Babylonians under Nabopolassar .

The mother of the last Babylonian king Nabonid (555-539 BC), Adad-happe (650-546 BC), was a priestess of the lunar cult in Harran. Nabonid himself had the lunar sanctuary Ehulhul in 542 BC. BC as a ziggurat and apparently tried to make Sin the new main god of his empire. This led to a conflict with the Marduk priests of Babylon and thus contributed to the end of his rule.


Harran was founded in the 6th century BC. Part of the Persian Achaemenid Empire . 331 BC The city was captured by Alexander the Great and then came under the rule of the Macedonian Seleucids . At the end of the 2nd century BC After Edessa , Harran became the second most important city in the independent small kingdom of Osrhoene , but later came under the influence of the Iranian Parthians . The Romans called the place Carrhae . He achieved particular fame in 53 BC. When the Roman triumvir Crassus found death in battle with the Parthians in the battle of Carrhae together with over 25,000 Roman soldiers. Plutarch gives a detailed account of this battle, which was one of the worst defeats in Roman history.

Under Emperor Septimius Severus , the place became part of the Roman Empire at the end of the 2nd century AD . His son, Emperor Caracalla , was murdered on the way to the sanctuary in 217. In the year 260 AD a mighty battle between the Persian king Shapur I and the Roman emperor Valerian took place near Carrhae , during which the latter was defeated and taken prisoner. The Palmyrene king Odaenathus conquered the city from the Persians in 264. When the empire of Palmyra was crushed a few years later by Emperor Aurelian , Carrhae fell back to the Roman Empire.

Unlike the neighboring Edessa, which became a center of Christianity very early , Carrhae remained a refuge of the old religion for a very long time in late antiquity . In fact, the Roman emperors worshiped the moon goddess Selene there until the 4th century , as the last Julian . When the Christian pilgrim Egeria visited Carrhae in 385, she met only "pagans" apart from a few clergymen and monks.

According to some reports, the moon temple was destroyed under Theodosius I. But still in the middle of the 6th century Prokopios of Caesarea states that in the city, which the Christians often called Hellenopolis ("City of the Hellenes / Pagans"), almost only Old Believers lived (in the 9th century the worshipers of the Moon detectable in the city). According to a controversial theory, Carrhae was also the place where the important pagan Neo-Platonist Simplikios set up a philosophy school after 532, which perhaps still existed in the 7th century.

Middle Ages and Modern Times

Remains of Harran University

Two years after Caliph Omar captured Jerusalem and Edessa in 637, the Harrans surrendered. The last Umayyad caliph Marwan II made Harran his residence around 745. The first mosque was built in the 8th century. The supposed Neoplatonic academy may have developed into the madrasa , which is considered to be the oldest university in the Islamic world. Even if its reputation was soon outshone by other schools (especially in Baghdad), it was long considered the center for astronomy and alchemy . In the Arab tradition, Harran is said to have been the home of Jabir ibn Hayyān ( giver ), who is possibly the group pseudonym for the writings of a hermetic-alchemical school.

Around 830, the Abbassid caliph al-Ma'mūn urged the non-Islamic residents of Harran to convert to Islam or another book religion mentioned in the Koran . Then some of them took the name Sabians and were able to continue as their old star cult. After the conquest of Edessa by the Byzantines , the Fatimids under Caliph Az-Zahir built a fortress in Harran in 1032, under the walls of which the ancient Babylonian lunar sanctuary Ehulhul disappeared.

In the course of the First Crusade , the Crusaders captured Harran, but suffered their first decisive defeat against the Seljuks in the Battle of Harran in 1104 . In 1187, Sultan Saladin repaired the mosque in Harran. In 1260 the Mongols destroyed the mosque and probably also the last temple of the Sabians in Harran, which was burned down and never regained its old importance. The fortified walls of the citadel at the end of the 12th century have been preserved.


Stele of Nabonidus from Harran in the Şanlıurfa Archaeological Museum


Web links

Commons : Harran, Şanlıurfa  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Turkish Institute for Statistics ( Memento from December 5, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ), accessed on November 26, 2009
  2. ^ Turkish Institute for Statistics ( Memento from December 5, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ) accessed November 26, 2009
  3. Ariel Bagg:  Haran. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen, Stefan Alkier (Eds.): The Scientific Biblical Lexicon on the Internet (WiBiLex), Stuttgart 2006 ff.