top of page

The Tale Of Three Cities

By: Fargo Bcn

On September 4, 2022, I embarked on a journey to Northern Kurdistan (Bakur), situated in the South-Eastern region of Turkey. This trip had long been a cherished dream, postponed due to the lingering effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, which tested my patience over a prolonged period. Finally, I appreciate realizing this journey after over two years. Little did I anticipate the wealth of historical landmarks waiting to be discovered in this Kurdish region's major cities and villages, linked to pivotal events in the faith I hold dear, as found in the Bible and the Quran.

The three distinguished gentlemen captured in the photograph hail from three distinct cities within Northern Kurdistan. Each one symbolizes a significant town in the intricate tapestry of human history and the events that have shaped it. Encountering such individuals is a rare occurrence that offers a glimpse into the past, where some of the most momentous incidents unfolded.

VAN (Wan): "The Garden of Eden"

One of the individuals in the group photo is a close friend of mine, Zeki Anter, hailing from Van (Wan) but having relocated to Mersin three decades ago, where he currently resides and works. Zeki has been an invaluable companion during my journey through Northern Kurdistan, offering his guidance and leveraging his connections to facilitate my exploration. I genuinely appreciate individuals like him who prioritize supporting the purpose behind my travels. With the trust and confidence of such individuals who believe in me, my accomplishments remained within reach.

Have you ever pondered the whereabouts of the "Garden of Eden"? Frankly, the thought never crossed my mind until I stumbled upon an article a few years back suggesting its location in a mountainous region near the Euphrates River, one of Western Asia's longest and historically significant rivers. "Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia. Originating in Turkey, the Euphrates flows through Syria and Iraq before meeting the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab, ultimately emptying into the Persian Gulf."

Allow me to recount an intriguing adventure that exposed me to various studies and research supporting this intriguing hypothesis. While the exact whereabouts of the Garden of Eden remains a mystery, scholars have proposed a traditional location—a mountainous area approximately 225 km (140 mi) southwest of Mount Ararat and a few kilometers south of Lake Van, situated in the eastern region of modern-day Turkey. As the book Insight on the Scriptures attests, "its location is lost to man except for the divine record of its existence."

What is the reasoning behind this suggested location? Let's delve into the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament for some insight. Genesis 2:11 states, “Now there was a river flowing out of Eden to water the garden, and from there, it divided into four rivers.” This single sentence provides a significant clue. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers, known to have sources in this area, align with this description. Given that these two rivers originate near Lake Van, the correlation is compelling. However, the whereabouts of the other rivers mentioned in the verses, Pishon and Gihon, remain a mystery, possibly attributed to landscape alterations following significant events like the great flood. Various research endeavors have sought to pinpoint the Garden of Eden's location, consistently pointing to this region as a probable candidate, making it the most viable site according to current findings.

While there remains no definitive confirmation that this indeed was the original Garden of Eden, numerous scholars advocate for its likelihood. To date, no contradicting studies have emerged to challenge these propositions. Personally, I would like to share a fascinating anecdote from my exploration of eastern Turkey within the realm of northern Kurdistan, a region often overlooked in mainstream discourse and historical accounts.

URFA (Riha): Abraham’s Birthplace

The other young man in the photograph, clad in a long white shirt on the right, is Mûsa from Urfa, also known as Riha in Kurdish. I had the pleasure of meeting him while my friend and I awaited the arrival of some guests for an evening event. Located approximately 180 kilometers west of Kiziltepe in Northern Kurdistan, Urfa is a town steeped in ancient history and reverence. Both the Bible and the Quran designate it as the birthplace of Abraham before his migration to Canaan, now known as Palestine.

A unique facet of local Muslim lore distinguishes Urfa, involving the infamous King Nimrod, who subjected Abraham to a harrowing ordeal. Legend has it that Nimrod had Abraham catapulted from the city’s citadel, only for divine intervention to transform the impending fire into water and the fuel beneath him into fish, signifying God’s protection of the faithful believer. Today, visitors to Urfa can explore the mosque complex encompassing Abraham’s Cave and the renowned “Pool of Sacred Fish” nearby.

Urfa emerges as a historical Anatolian city intertwined with the narratives of various religious traditions. From the Old Testament prophets like Jethro (Hz. Şûeyb), Job (Hz. Eyûp), Elijah (Hz. Elyas), and Abraham (Hz. Îbrahîm) to figures like Moses (Hz. Mûsa), who resided in the region for seven years herding sheep before his return to Egypt with his iconic staff, the city holds a significant place in religious history. Urfa was a pioneering ground for early Christians, marking a land where worship was freely allowed and the first churches openly constructed. The architectural landscape is a testament to its eclectic past, witnessing the conversion of pagan temples to synagogues, synagogues to churches, and churches to mosques, resulting in a distinct and diverse architectural tapestry. Urfa remains a vibrant tourist destination, showcasing its rich history and religious significance to visitors from far and wide.

ŞIRNAK (Şirnex): The Home of Noah’s Ark

The third person in the photograph with me is Tarik Yağan. We crossed paths in Alanya while he was on duty, and I was taking an evening stroll to the beach resort to attend a live concert. He was pleasantly surprised to hear me greet him in Kurdish-Kurmanji and kindly offered me a cup of coffee from his workplace. Tarik hails from Şirnak (Şirnex) and Cizre (Cizîrê).

Şirnak, also known as Nuh, is named after Noah in Kurdish, the biblical figure known for building an ark to save the animals during the great flood. Originally named Şehr-i Nuh (City of Noah), it is located near Cudi Mountain, where Noah's Ark is believed to have landed after the flood.

The famous story of Noah and the Great Flood, a tale we cherished hearing from our parents and learned about in religious classes, has become a part of us. This narrative has inspired numerous filmmakers and directors to create captivating movies based on this biblical account. Who would have thought that one day I would journey to this place? Seeing Şirnak and spending two days exploring the area has made this beloved story come to life in a vibrant and realistic way. The Old Testament's book of Genesis recounts the story of Noah and the Great Flood.

Apart from being a tourist destination, the Bazebde Ruins stand on the border of the Cizre district in Şirnak province, offering a glimpse into a historical site dating back to before Christ. My time in Şirnak has allowed me to explore this fascinating destination and learn about its rich cultural heritage.

These tales of three cities are the most popular stories many of us may have heard from childhood. Biblical stories that carved our hearts and are regarded as guides in our life journey. I was fortunate to have seen these historical places. It may seem complicated to reconcile ancient stories with the modern age that we live in. Still, it's absolutely a remarkable experience to have traveled half of the world to see these unbelievable sites.

This beautiful encounter crossed my mind as I touched down at Helsinki Airport. I sat aboard the bus, returning to Tampere city. As I write this article, a dear friend, Salome Mjema, came to my thoughts. Her words resonate with me now: "Have faith and be courageous, for God will bring you to places you’ve never been. This will help you accomplish writing your book, and your journey in search of the Kurds will touch many people.” It was prophetic lines from her that came true to me. I’m glad to share it with much gratitude.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page