In the centre of old Urfa, next to the historical pool of Abraham is the Ayni Zeliha Lake. Popular with locals at the weekend, they gather to drink tea in the gardens surrounding it. It is nothing spectacular and my main interest was purchasing food to feed the large fish swimming around in it.
There was also the option for a romantic boat ride with hubby but judging from the size of the so called “lake”, I figured we would be going around in circles most of the time. In my opinion, the small size makes it more of a pool than a lake but this is irrelevant because it is the urban myths surrounding it that attract attention.
The Story of Ayni Zeliha Lake
She was the daughter of Nimrod who was hell bent on throwing Abraham into the fire. After seeing Abraham go into the flames, she was so distraught but what happens next depends on which story you are listening to
- The first says the lake is the tears of Ayn-I Zeliha who cried non-stopped after the death of Abraham
- The second version says that Ayn-I jumped into the flames after him and just as God turned the fire into water to save Abraham, he did the same for her.
Of course, considering the neat structure and lake walls, I did suggest it could possibly be a man made “pool” but who am I to judge thousand-year-old urban myths!