Urfa & the prophet Abraham's birthplace
Urfa, the prophet Abraham's birthplace, seemed like an appropriate side trip to commemorate the wrapping-up of our Bible study. The city center is wholly unimpressive from up close but a rather breathtaking view from the castle ruins on the complex that also houses the cave where Abraham was born.
Getting into said cave was one of the more intense moshing experiences I've had - women were only allowed into, it would have appeared, the less impressive half, and boy were there a lot of women eager to get in. The cave itself was claustrophobic (although this was more due to the crowds than to the cave itself) and very cave-y. It suffices to say that its historical and symbolic significance is infinitely more impressive than its temporal manifestation. Also, seriously, Abraham's mom is the true hero here - way to give birth in a cave thousands of years before modern medicine. I bet that was a total hoot (not).
We were also made to believe that this was where Abraham was flung off the mountain into a giant fire only to find himself falling into a comfortable pool of sacred fish and roses, cited to the Bible. But we've read that thing cover to cover and not found such a story anywhere - any scholars out there that can lend a hand?