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CEYLANPINAR

                                                         Population: 53,000

Market day: Monday

South of Viranşehir, Ceylanpınar (Gazelle Spring) is a small town on the border with Syria where it rubs up against Ra's al-Ayn. The majority of locals speak Arabic or Kurdish as their first language. 

Ceylanpınar is not a pretty town and there are no monuments to visit. In current circumstances most advice would be to stay well away from any of the border areas anyway.

The one reason you just might want to come here is to visit the Ceylan Konukevi (Gazelle Guesthouse), a reserve for the endangered Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) operated by TİGEM, a government-run agricultural organisation. Here 300+ gazelles run free in a large shady space, as fine a nature reserve as you'll find in Turkey. Keeping them company are a pair of ostriches and a motley collection of ornamental pigeons and chickens. 

Sadly, no information about the animals was being provided when I visited, and the fact that a security guard wanted me to delete the pictures I'd taken AFTER I'd done so made me wonder whether it is really a site intended to be open to the public or not. Hopefully if times ever get easier a proper visitor centre will be established here. 

Transport info

There are regular dolmuşes to Ceylanpınar from the centre of Viranşehir as well as from the minibus section of Urfa otogar. 

The gazelle reserve is on the southern outskirts of town. It's about a two-km walk to the animals. Dolmuş drivers can usually be persuaded to drive you most of the way for a "taxi" fare. 

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