The Pool of Abraham : Balikli Göl in Sanliurfa

Sanliurfa is one of my favorite cities in Turkey, even though I originally went there for one reason only.

That was to see the pool of Abraham, known as Balikli Göl in Turkish.  As a major landmark of the region, it is visited by many Turks as well as foreign tourists.

Pool of Abraham

What is the Pool of Abraham aka Balikli Göl?

This pool is believed by Muslims to be the place where Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod. Abraham is mentioned in three major religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism but in Islam, he is called Ibrahim.

The pool is a special place for practicing Muslims because of the importance of Ibrahim. He was the same prophet who was prepared to sacrifice his son for Allah.

The story says that when Ibrahim landed in the fire, Allah turned the flames to water and the burning logs into fish, hence the translation of the Turkish name into “lake of fish”.

Since Abraham / Ibrahim is also a prominent figure of Christianity, the pool is on the agenda of most Christian tours throughout Turkey.

Pool of Abraham in Sanliurfa

The Fish of Balikli Göl

Forget any thoughts about fishing because the carp fish are considered sacred. Due to their protected status, it is no surprise that reproduction now means there are hundreds of them in Balikli Göl and the nearby Ayn Zeliha Lake.

Carp fish at Balikli gol

Every visitor is encouraged to feed the fish so I purchased a few bags of fish food from one of the vendors. Within minutes all food had gone. When it was thrown into the water, there was a frenzy of fish, splashing around to compete for their next meal.

All the fish were dark grey or black but one local said there is also white carp fish and if you see one of them, it is a sign that you are truly blessed in life.

He also said the only time  they have been spotted was in the early hours of the morning. During daylight, they just disappear.

Balikli gol fish

 How to get to Balikli Göl

The pool is in the old town of Sanliurfa and I was pleased to discover I had booked a hotel immediately opposite the park where the pool is located. I had allocated a full afternoon to spend at the pool but an hour was enough. See the map below for directions.

From the entrance of the park, there is a fifty meter walk past a mosque before you enter under the archway to the pool. It is a long oblong construction and also includes the Halilurrahman mosque on its premises.

Balikli Gol in Sanliurfa

The architecture seemed typical Middle Eastern with decorative archways, three domes and a mosque minaret but  I do wish there was an English speaking guide who could have told me more about the surrounding buildings.

There is no entrance fee so that leaves you free to spend all your money on fish food!

Readers Question : I enjoyed Balikli Göl even though I am not religious. Do you like visiting religious places as well?

Balikli gol Urfa

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Natalie

Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an eccentric,Internet addict with a passion for history. I really shouldn't travel because I can not read maps and always lose my way! But hey, that never stops me and it is part of the fun! Leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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Comments

    • says

      I never saw any Syrians Corinne. Did you visit before the war because I heard that border tourism was good then but as soon as the war started, it dropped.

      Re the Kunefe. Hubby has been trying to get me to eat it for years but I just don’t like it. Same as Baklava! So I passed while he tucked into a big plate full with icecream!
      Natalie recently wrote about..17 Tilt Shift Photos From Turkey

  1. says

    Yes I love visiting sacred or religious sites, although often for their historical and cultural value rather than any spiritual reason. This sounds really fascinating – great post. I love hearing about places I’ve never heard of!

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