Monday, October 16, 2006

Prophetable City

I can certainly feel that I am getting closer to the Holy Land. The devout-o-meter is steadily climbing, as seen by the greater proportion of women wearing headscarves and people observing Ramadan, and the number of pilgrimage sites is also increasing. This is particularly true of Urfa. The town has been around for donkey's years and has therefore accumulated more than its fair share of connections to biblical prophets (Abraham, Lot, Moses, Job, Jethro (who the hell was Jethro?), Jacob, Elijah and Jesus). Actually I didn't even know there were that many prophets and I think it's overkill and perhaps Urfa should share its prophets with other towns. The big draw is the old man himself, the father of the Israelites and their religions that have now spread all across the world: Abraham. According to legend he was born in a cave, in what is now the old town, during the reign of the evil king Nimrod, Abraham takes him on and gets rid of him and his idolatrous ways. Whatever the historical accuracy of the tale the tiny cave (and it truly is uninspiring) attracts pilgrims from all three Abrahamic faiths to prostrate themselves and wash themselves and drink from the holy water (though not now as it's still Ramadan).

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