adventure travel & photography
Tours/Expeditions: List with all our scheduled tours and expeditions
About the place
In May 2021, I led a small group of enthusiasts to southeastern Turkey. Not far from Harran, near the Syrian-Turkish border, we came across a small village - 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 did not know what to expect. We spent about 2 hours walking around, but it deserved more. I would spend at least a whole day there.
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 rocks. 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 Gods), whose prayers were directed toward the centre of the hill, much as modern prayers are directed toward Mecca.
Seven temples were discovered in the area, so the place became famous as the "city of the seven temples".
A bus converted into a shop had arrived in the village. A group of women and children were queuing in front of it. I didn't go closer to see what they were buying, but probably household goods and food.
A crowd of children of all ages joined us as we walked through the village. They wanted money or candy. We gave what we could, but it wasn't enough. The whole situation was strange - the children, the heat, the stone houses, the ruins in the middle of nowhere.
Six mausoleums and 120 graves were discovered around the village, including family graves with burial chambers for children. In these chambers, archaeologists found a horse and chariots made of clay. The villagers now use many of these caves and tombs as sheepfolds.
The place is unique. Most tourists reach Harran, where they make a brief stop without knowing what awaits them beyond it.
Digital downloads and prints available
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.
More about Turkey
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.
Books about Turkey
Free delivery worldwide (with no minimum spend) from Book Depository (Amazon), a leading international book retailer. Please click on the title of the book to read the full description and to buy it.
Do not travel without travel insurance! World Nomads, as it is the only company that covers an unlimited budget, provides coverage of a massive bunch of adventure activities and you can purchase it while on the road. Get a free quote using the form.