Sogmatar - "The City of the Seven Temples" in southeastern Turkey

Sogmatar - "The City of the Seven Temples" in southeastern Turkey

adventure travel & photography

Destinations/Places: Pakistan ◦◦Turkey ◦◦ Egypt ◦◦ Bulgaria ◦◦ Mongolia ◦◦ Bangladesh ◦◦ Jordan ◦◦ Russia ◦◦ Turkmenistan ◦◦ Iran ◦◦ Kazakhstan

About the place

In May 2021, I led a small group of enthusiasts to southeastern Turkey. We came across a small village not far from Harran, near the Syria-Turkey border- the ancient Sogmatar or present-day Yagmurlu. We were amazed at what we found in this village. The information on the internet was not very descriptive, so I didn't know what exactly to expect. We spent about 2 hours walking around, but it deserved more. Personally, I would spend at least a whole day.

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Sogmatar was an ancient pagan city. Archaeologists have discovered remains of a civilisation dating back to the 2nd century. In addition, sacrifices were made here to the sun and moon gods, whose images are carved into the side of the rocky outcrop. Like Harran, Soğmatar was a centre for the cultic worship of the moon god Sin, from about AD 150 to 200. Further research revealed that the entire area was sacred. It was believed to represent Mare-late (Lord of the Gods), whose prayers were directed toward the centre of the hill, much as modern prayers are directed toward Mecca.

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Seven temples were discovered in the area, so the site became famous as "The City of Seven Temples".

A bus that had been converted into a shop had arrived at the village. A group of women and children were queuing in front of it. I didn't get closer to see what they were buying, but most likely household goods and food.

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As we walked through the village, we were joined by a crowd of children of all ages. They wanted money or candy. We gave away what we had, but of course, it wasn't enough. The whole situation was strange - the children, the equatorial heat, the ancient-looking stone houses, the ruins, in the middle of nowhere.

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Six mausoleums and 120 graves were also discovered around the village, including family graves with burial chambers for children. In these chambers, archaeologists found a horse and chariots made of clay. Many of these caves and tombs are now used as sheepfolds by the villagers.

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Definitely, a peculiar place that sees almost no tourists, which is, of course, unfortunate. Most reach Harran, where they stop, unaware of what lurks a little further on.

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Practical information

The ruins of Sogmatar are located about 57 kilometres from Harran in southeastern Anatolia. It's not hard to find it, just follow the signs on the road from Harran. You would need a car to reach this place. Taxi would be too expensive. There are no organised tours to join. The place is really remote, but all the efforts are worth it in my opinion.

Location

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Travel to southeast Turkey

We usually have one or two small groups (max 7/8 participants) per year travelling to southeast Turkey. If you are interested in joining a group setting out from Europe, please drop me a line. We will provide more information, like dates, a program, and other details.

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