General Information

Urfa (Edessa, or Urhay in Aramaic) is an ancient Mesopotamian city, with which Abraham is greatly associated. It had been in Persian and Macedonian/Greek rule for many years.

Culture and History

After the Christening of the first Christian king Abgar and with it, many residents of the kingdom, numerous monasteries and churches were built in the city in the 3rd Century AD. Edessa developed early into a centre of theological erudition. In particular, the Syrian Christian movement was strong in the city, with famous theological schools of the time being present there. One of many famous scholars of the time, Ephraim, was from Urfa.

In the 7th Century, the city was conquered by the Muslims. From 1097 until 1144, she came under Frankish rule as part of the Crusades. Edessa was reconquered by the Seljuk Turks in 1147. In the following centuries, the rule changed frequently. Edessa came under Ottoman rule in 1637 and was renamed as Urfa afterwards.