The ancient Urfa castle cum fortress, dating from antiquity, lies atop a rocky hill called Damlacik. It overlooks the historical precinct related to Prophet Abraham’s legend and the old market area of Gumruk Han. We climb Damlacik from the market, and descend into the gardens of Abraham. The day ends with Maghrib prayer at Hasan Padisah Mosque and a worthy dessert called sillik, a uniquely Urfa invention. (February 2013)
Urfa, located in the Middle Euphrates in south-eastern Anatolia, is said to be one of the 18 settlements founded by Prophet Noah after the Big Flood, and it has flourished ever since. Located along the ancient Silk Road, the Ottomans built a major caravanserai in the 16th c. which has now become the market of old Urfa. It’s one of the best-preserved markets in Turkey, and a very delightful place to explore and observe. (February 2013)
We continue with our Prophet Abraham quest — the legendary Pool of Sacred Fish or Fish Lake, and the accompanying Zeliha (Zulaikha) Lake. We end the morning Urfa walkabout with a visit to a beautiful church-turned-mosque dedicated to Salahaddin Al-Ayyubi, the Muslim warrior. (February 2013)
We visit the cave in Urfa, believed to be the birthplace of Prophet Abraham some 4000 years ago, whose mother fled to in order to hide her pregnancy and delivery. Evil pagan King Nimrod was at that time on a rampage, killing every male newborn, after dreaming that one of them would grow to end his rule. February 2013.
Jeju City, with almost 450k people, has been the capital of the island of Jeju since time immemorial. It is served by an international airport and the Seoul-Jeju air route is the world’s busiest — in 2012, seven airlines served this route, carrying a total of 10.2mil passengers. Jeju Island is blessed with natural beauty and this has been exploited by building other tourism-related ventures. As such Jeju is a very popular holiday and honeymoon destinations for Koreans, and lately for foreigners as well. August 2013.
Our third and final Jeju’s World Heritage Site item is the Manjanggul Lava Cave. Several hundreds of thousands of years ago, lava flowed out of the huge magma chambers underneath present-day Jeju — some entered caves to flow like thick liquid in a pipe. Manjanggul tube is the remnant of such a cave. August 2013.
Our next destination, the Seongsam Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak, is location #2 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription for Jeju Island. It’s at the far eastern tip of the island, near the town of Seongsan, whence the ‘Sunrise’. August 2013.
Jeju Island in South Korea, famed for its natural and cultural heritage, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit the ancient Sangumburi Crater and the Seoungeup Folk Village in this first part of the journey. August 2013.