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Balıklı Göl (Abraham Pool) in Turkey 2024-2025

A sacred pool of fish with a biblical history

Best time: mid-September–April

Balıklı Göl (Abraham Pool)
Balıklı Göl (Abraham Pool)
Balıklı Göl (Abraham Pool)

The pool of Abraham or Balikli Göl (meaning "fish in the lake" in Turkish) is a major landmark of Urfa (Şanlıurfa) visited by many Turks as well as foreign visitors. This pool is believed to be the place where prophet Abraham was thrown into the fire by King Nimrod. Legend has it that when Abraham, also called Ibrahim, landed in the fire, Allah turned the flames to water and the burning logs into fish. Thus, the pool became a sacred pilgrimage site.

The carp fish in the lake enjoy protected status; therefore, there are hundreds of them in Balıklı Göl. Visitors are encouraged to feed the fish, purchasing small bags of fish food from local vendors. Most fish are dark grey or black but if you see a white carp, it is a sign of blessing.

Urfa is the place where Abraham was born and raised, according to a legend, and it also has many other Biblical sites. The nearby Pool of Ayn-Zeliha is said to have been formed by the tears of Zeliha, Nimrod's daughter.

The best time to visit Abraham Pool and Urfa is from mid-September to April when the weather is more pleasant. Summers bring scorching heat to the area, so it can become rather uncomfortable for sightseeing.

Practical info

When is it ideal to visit Urfa's Balikli Göl?

Go to Urfa's Balikli Göl from mid-September to April for the best time to visit. The hot and scorching temperature during summertime makes it less enjoyable to sightsee. Visiting Balikli Göl during winter is also an opportunity to witness its tranquil beauty since the crowd is relatively lesser. Although the temperature can fall below freezing, it is far more bearable than the sweltering heat of summer. Show more

How can visitors feed the carp and where can they obtain fish food?

Visitors can get bags of fish food from vendors near the pool to feed the carp in Balikli Göl. Since the carp is a protected species, bringing your food is not allowed. A small bag of fish food can cost around 1 TL or approximately 0.12 USD, depending on the vendor. The interaction is humbling, exciting, and a one-of-a-kind experience for visitors and tourists alike. Show more

Aside from Balikli Göl and the Pool of Ayn-Zeliha, are there other biblical sites to visit in Urfa?

Urfa is renowned for being the birthplace and hometown of Abraham in legend. Other bible-related historical sites include the job's cave, the oldest mosque in Turkey, the Rizvaniye Mosque, and the Cave of Abraham (Ibrahim). However, Balikli Göl is a popular attraction and considered the holiest site in Urfa since it relates to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). It would be regrettable not to visit while in the city. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych