Halfeti is a small quaint town located east of river Euphrates in Şanlıurfa province. A peaceful retreat town of Halfeti does provide some of the tourist attractions due to its rich history. Known to be established during the Assyrian Kingdom, Halfeti has been a place for many kingdoms since 855BC. It has come under the rule of Assyrian, Byzantine Greeks, Mameluks and Ottoman Turks for various years.
With a population of around 35,000, the main source of income for people who stayed here was fishing. In 1954, the town came under Şanlıurfa province with completion of Birecik Dam. Due to this, some parts of Halfeti were submerged under water and thus New Halfeti was built.
Despite half of the city submerged under water, Halfeti offers its visitors some of the amazing tourist attractions such as:
- Old Halfeti
Old Halfeti is a tourist destination which can be visited via Boat Trip. This town was submerged under water when dams were constructed across river Euphrates, thus this area is now accessible only via ferry. A boat trip is where they take you on a tour to see the partially submerged town of Old Halfeti, and also they explain the buildings, civilizations and the lifestyle of people who once stayed at the region. The boat trip is around 1 and half hour ride with a maximum of 15-20people and costs around 3US$. It is advisable to visit this place morning or during the evening as the Mediterranean climate will be hot during afternoons.
Rumkale is a powerful fortress located in the bank of river Euphrates. It has been occupied by various kingdoms ranging from Assyrians, Armenians, Greeks and Mamluks due to its location and accessibility to water. Now, this place is situated in peninsula created by Birecik Dam, Rumkale Fort is currently accessible via Boat. The views from the top of the fort are breath-taking where you can see the flow of Mighty Euphrates.
- Halfeti Ulu Camii and Halfeti Tekne Turu
Halfeti Ulu Camii is an old mosque which is now partially submerged under water. It is located near to Rumkale where you can visit on your way to Rumkale. This beautiful structure has some amazing architecture, although we can view these in bits and pieces due to submerged parts we can have a short tour visiting this old mosque. Halfeti Tekne Turu is the only Natural History Museum located in Halfeti which due to the construction of the dam has been partially submerged with its lush green background Halfeti Tekne Turu offers a view of the submerged city and also explains how the civilizations perished beside the banks of River.
How to visit Halfeti
Located just an hour drive from Şanlıurfa, Halfeti can be reached by road. Perhaps the most common mode of transport here is Boat Trip which costs around 15 Turkish Lira. The good thing about Boat Trip is that they show you the tourist locations of Halfeti which is must thing.
#MTTips: There are many restaurants, hotels situated near riverside if you decide to stay at Halfeti however we recommend you for a short day tour as the prices are expensive to stay and also as Halfeti is a small town, the tour can be completed within a day.