Şanlıurfa / General Information

Sanliurfa is located in Southeastern Anatolia Region, which possesses the most fertile agricultural lands of Turkey. It is surrounded by Mardin in the east, Gaziantep in the west, Adiyaman in the northwest, and Diyarbakir in the northeast. The Turkish – Syrian border passes through the south of the city. The total area of the city is 19,336 km² and has mostly a structure of plain. The elevation for downtown Sanliurfa is 518 meters. The city of Sanliurfa is located on the northern part of Arabian Platform and on southern skirts of the middle section of the Southeast Taurus Mountains. The mountains on the north of the city have rather low elevation. Large plains are located in between the mountains. Most important river of the city is the Euphrates. The city has two lakes by the names of Halil-ur-Rahman and Aynzeliha. Moreover the Lake Ataturk Dam, which was artificially created as part of the GAP (Southeast Anatolia Project) Project, falls also within the boundaries of the city. The city of Sanliurfa has generally a plateau look while having primary plains such as Harran, Suruc, Viransehir, Hilvan, Ceylanpinar, Bozova, and Siverek.

Sanliurfa has a continental climate with summers being hot and extremely arid while winters are generally mild with high precipitation. It is located in a region far from the seas thus not benefiting from its effects especially in terms of temperature and precipitation. The flora of Sanliurfa is rather poor. Terebinths, which are grafted over time for facilitating production, can be found on Tektek Mountains. As steppe disappears one will come across with a scene of desert. In order to prevent erosion the efforts of afforestation have been speeded up in various parts of Sanliurfa where irrigation takes place especially in Euphrates river basin. The districts of Sanliurfa are: Siverek, Viransehir, Birecik, Harran, Suruc, Bozova, Akcakale, Ceylanpinar, Hilvan, and Halfeti.

According to numbers of Address Based Population Registration System for the year 2012 the population of city of Sanliurfa is 1,762,075. The total number of people residing in urban areas is 975.455 (55% percent of the total population) while 786,620 people (45% percent of the total population) are residing in rural areas. According to the same numbers the City Center has a population of 788,956 and the population density per km² stands at 94 people. In terms of population the largest districts are the City Center, Siverek, and Viransehir respectively. In terms of area the largest district is Siverek while the smallest both in terms of area and population is Halfeti.

Sanliurfa has 11 districts, 26 municipalities, and 1,136 villages. Due to the rapid increase in population and urbanization (movement of people from rural to urban areas) there is a growing need for schools in City Center and districts. Sanliurfa Junior Technical College was founded in 1976 and became the first higher education institute of Sanliurfa. Dicle University’s Faculty of Agriculture was founded in 1978 and Department of Civil Engineering followed in 1984. Gaziantep University’s School of Theology was also founded in Sanliurfa in 1988. Later in year 1992 Harran University was founded in Sanliurfa and the aforementioned schools, departments, institutes and faculties were placed under the Harran University system.

The rate of urbanization, GDP per capita, and ratio of people employed in industrial sector to the overall employment for Sanliurfa are all below the national averages. Annual population growth rate and the ratio of people employed in agricultural sector to the overall employment are above the nation averages. One of the most important traits of Sanliurfa is that it is the epicenter of the GAP, one of world’s greatest integrated regional development projects. With this project materializing Sanliurfa is witnessing important developments unfold. Especially with partial materialization of the GAP project in 1995 the industry in Sanliurfa has since started to grow rapidly based on agricultural products. The economic structure of Sanliurfa is based heavily on the agricultural sector. The city has an important place in the production of wheat, barley, pistachio, red lentil, chickpea, fresh pea, and sesame. As irrigated agriculture spreading with the implementation of GAP the production of cotton has also grown significantly. Recent years have also witnessed the significant development of the production in greenhouses. Sheep and goats highlight the animal husbandry in the city. Cattle breeding is lagging behind but it is making great strides day by day. Efforts to develop and spread beekeeping are ongoing. Euphrates and Lake Ataturk Dam have great potential for fishery. Though limited, breeding of fish is being exercised in the region in modern fishery facilities. Another important element for the economy of the city is the Akcakale Border Gate.