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Harran Ruins. ( Gerry Lynch/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

Harran Sanliurfa, City Of Prophets And Jerusalem Of Ancient Anatolia


The Lord said to Abram: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing”. (Genesis 12:2). “ By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going”. (Hebrews 11:8). “ Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Ibrahim the true in Faith? For Allah did take Ibrahim for a friend". (Qurʾān 4:125)

Journey of the Family of Abraham by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1650-1660)

Journey of the Family of Abraham by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1650-1660)          

Musei di Strada Nuova (Public Domain)

Abram, Abraham, Ibrahim

Abram, Abraham, Ibrahim, by whatever name he is called, he is considered to be the spiritual father, in many cases the actual biological father, of 12 million Jews, two billion Christians, and one billion Muslims. Many claim that he was history's first monotheist. And yet, upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious that few people understand him. They may know some things about him, but aside from a few stories here and there, they don't really know him. Perhaps if they did, his followers would not fight so much.

He was born into a family that shared a long and rich tradition of wandering and moving across the landscape, although never very far from an urban center of trade. They were given various labels — Aramean, Aramu, Arabu — that eventually coalesced into the word Arab. Although the Bible does not specify exactly the place of his birth, many Jews and Christians have concentrated on Ur Kasdim, or ‘Ur of the Chaldeans’. That would put him down in Mesopotamia. But the great rabbinic scholar Moses Nahmanides argued that his true place of birth was further north, in the land near Harran. Muslims unequivocally claim that honor for the city of Urfa, modern Şanlıurfa. Wherever the place of his birth is located, however, there is little doubt that soon after he came into the world his father moved the family to the ancient city of Harran (or its biblical spelling of Haran), where he lived for almost seven decades. Harran is in Şanlıurfa Province, in present day Turkey.


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This is the sixth of a series of eight articles written by Jim Willis which will detail aspects of the history of various ancient sites in Turkey and Anatolia.  In September, 2020, Ancient Origins Tours is partnering with award-winning tour operator Travel the Unknown to provide its readers with comprehensive escorted tours throughout the mysteries of the region, visiting classic destinations as well as more obscure locations where the magic of the past remains as strong today as it did thousands of years ago. Your hosts are Jim Willis, author of  Hidden History: Ancient Aliens and the Suppressed Origins of Civilization, and Micki Pistorius, Premium Editor.

Top Image: Harran Ruins. ( Gerry Lynch/ CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Jim Willis

jim willis's picture


After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Jim Willis became a high school band and orchestra teacher during the week, a symphony trombonist on the weekends, a jazz musician at night and a choral conductor on Sunday mornings. ... Read More

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