Balikli Gol – Urfa, Turkey - Atlas Obscura

Urfa, Turkey has many biblical stories associated with its name. Some believe that this was where God tested Job and others tell of a ruler who was cured by a handkerchief that had wiped the brow of Jesus. But Urfa’s most famous tale concerns the Prophet Abraham.

Legend has it that Abraham was born and raised here, and that he incurred the wrath of King Nimrod when he not only declared war on idolatry but also won the heart of the king’s daughter, Zeliha. Nimrod sentenced Abraham to death, and a huge pyre was built in the middle of the city. Miraculously, just as Abraham was tossed into the fire, the flames were transformed into water and the logs into fish.

Since then, the Pool of Abraham and the carp that live in it have been considered sacred; the Pool of Ayn?-Zeliha is said to have been formed by Zeliha’s tears and it is said that anyone who eats them will be struck blind.

Feeding the fish is not only encouraged but necessary, as the masses of swarming fish depend on the food of pilgrims, visitors and tourists of Balikli Gol to keep them fed.