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Şanlıurfa Museum

The Directorate of Monuments and Museums


The idea of opening a museum in Şanlıurfa was first raised in 1948, and the initial steps to do so were taken by gathering together all the existing historical artefacts in a storage room at the Atatürk Primary School. In 1956, an area was allotted at the Şehit Nusret Elementary School to store these pieces. However, the clear insufficiency of this school storage space coupled with the need to put the Şanlıurfa region’s rich cultural assets on display led to the construction of a new museum building.

The museum’s construction started in 1965 in the Şehitlik district on an area measuring 1,500 square metres. After finishing touches, the display arrangements were put on, the museum opened its doors to visitors in 1969.

The Şanlıurfa region has a rich history, including a wealth of tumuli and the old settlements. The village of Harran, 44 kilometres to the south-east of Şanlıurfa’s city centre, is the most popular and interesting area with its authentic architecture, and it also lends its name to the local Harran Valley (Harran Ovası). Harran was continuously inhabited from as far back as 3000 B.C. all the way to 13 A.D.

The Rescue excavations were planned for the settlement areas lying under the Atatürk Dam, the Birecik Dam and the Kargamış Dam. Starting in 1987, foreign archaeologists conducted excavations at the Lidar Höyük and Hassek Höyük tumuli, the sites which were later submerged under the waters of the Atatürk Dam. The Şanlıurfa’s Museum Directorate financed the rescue excavations at the Çavi Field and the Nevali Çori.

Since 1996, the Şanlıurfa’s Museum Directorate has been supervising excavations at Tilbek Höyük, which is stated to be flooded by the Birecik Dam. The directorate is also scheduled to begin the rescue excavations at the Apameia ruins in 1998. Currently, the excavations are continuing in the Şanlıurfa’s Örencik village, Göbeklitepe, the Konuklu village, Kazane Höyük, the Gürcütepe Bozova township, the Bahceli village, Titris Höyük, and the Hacınebi ruins in Birecik.

As excavations unearthed new artefacts to be given to the Şanlıurfa Museum, space at its storage and display areas began to run out. It became necessary to make new additions to both the storage and the display space in order to protect these historical treasures in an appropriate manner. To accomplish this goal, the state bought some property near the museum’s grounds, and work on new additions to the building began.

The additions to the museum included three halls for the archaeological specimens and one for the ethnographic pieces. There were also administrative units, a hall for hosting conferences and exhibitions, and a library on its ground and the first floors. In the basement, storage areas, laboratories, and a photography area were built. This additional building, which has modern displays, was opened to the publicors in 1987.

Besides the artefacts discovered in the excavations in the village of Harran, other historical and cultural pieces found in other old settlements and tumuli are also exhibited in separate displays arrayed in chronological order. At the entrance, there are pieces which have survived from the the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Hittite eras. In the second and the third halls, bothof them the archaeological sections, there are also:

-Sharp tools used for cutting or piercing things, along with stone idols and cups from the Neolithic Age (8000 B.C.-5000 B.C.);

-Painted and unpainted ceramic objects made out of cooked clay and decorated with geometric patterns, as well as seals, pithoses (amphorae vessels buried alongside the dead), and necklace beads made out of faience (tiles) from the Chalcolithic Age (5000 B.C.-3000 B.C.);

-Amphorae pieces marked with seals, cylindrical and stamp seals, cup pieces decorated with figurines, plus animal figurines, metal objects, Jewellery and idols from the Bronze Age (3,000 B.C. and 2000 B.C).

The museum’s ethnographic section has on display the traditional costumes of the Şanlıurfa region, silver and bronze Jewellery, examples of the region’s handcrafts, wooden doors and window frames with inscriptions carved on them in the Şanlıurfa style, specimens of the calligraphic art, and the handwritten copies of the Koran.

In the courtyard of the Şanlıurfa Museum, archaeological pieces are displayed in chronological order. On the front side, there is a mosaic pool decorated with depictions of animals.

Address: Şehitlik Mahallesi

Çamlık Cad. Şanlıurfa

Tel: (414) 313-1588

(414) 314-1642