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VİRANŞEHİR (ŞANLIURFA)

                                              Population: 180,000

dikme2Other names: Tilla, Constantina (Roman), Weranşar (Kurdish)

As with its namesake Viranşehir in the outskirts of Mersin, time has not been kind to the Viranşehir between Şanlıurfa and Mardin. The main reason to come here should be to visit the Dikmeler, the remains of what was once a huge octagonal marytrion dating back to the fourth or fifth century. In reality all that remains is a single one of the eight stone columns that once surrounded it together with a few pillars and other pieces of stone scattered on the ground around it. It's a site for specialists only. 

If you do come here you might want to take a quick look at the elegant single-storey İbrahim Paşa Konağı in the town centre. It's now used as a public library but was once the summer home of a powerful local warlord. It was built towards the end of the 19th century.

The same İbrahim Paşa was also responsible for the austere Tekke Cami and the Hamidiye Kışla (Barracks), still occupied by the army. 

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There's a very pleasant park beside the town's Kültür Merkezi. Scattered about it are the remains of what must once have been a Byzantine church. 

Sleeping

Vefa Park Hotel. Tel: 0414-511 0404

Grand İpekyol Hotel. Tel: 0414-511 4343

Transport info

There are regular minibuses from the lower level of Urfa's bus station to Viranşehir where the terminal is in the town centre near the park. 

If you want to visit the Dikmeler ask the driver to put you off near the Halime Hatun Kız Anadolu İmam Hatip Lisesi before you get to the town centre. There's no sign to show the way. 

Day trip destinations

Ceylanpınar

Eskikale

Mardin

Şanlıurfa

 

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