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Dayr Yakub

Turkey, Eyyübiye (Sanliufa)

Dayr Yakub

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Dayr Yakub is a fifth-century monastery on the edge of the suburbs to the south of the modern Turkish city of Şanlıurfa. The monastery is built on the top of a hill above an ancient quarry, which Emma Loosley claims to be “an appropriated site for a former pagan sanctuary”. The earlier site was also used as a necropolis as well as a place of sacrifice as a Palmyrene-style tomb tower, complete with a Syriac inscription (late second or third century), was incorporated into the later monastery buildings (Emma Loosley, “Dayr Yakub,” Architecture and Asceticism, 2012). The inscriptions in Syriac/”near-Palmyrene” script (Segal, J. B. Edessa ‘the Blessed City’. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970: 29) at Dayr Yakub underline the close relations that must have existed, in the time of the monarchy, between the leaders of Edessan society and the West.

It is commonly believed that King Nemrut, with whom the Prophet Abraham fought, used this place as a recreational area. The term «Nemrut’s Throne» [Nemrutun tahtı] is popularly used for the building in this region.


The remains of Dayr Yakub are built in large stone blocks. Unfortunately, little else can be inferred by the monastery present status of conservation, except that the complex had a rectangular plan and at least two levels. There are arched arcosolia (niche for the dead) on the north, south and east of the burial chamber, which are covered with large lintel stones. On the left side of the entrance of this section, on the ground floor, there is the carved profile of a bird facing right. The ground floor of the two-storey main part of the great building has arched corridors and three arcosolia.

At present, cleaning works are necessary to investigate the monastery plan and its extension through the territory.



Información de la localidad

Monastery of Yakub
Other monuments and places to visitReji Church [St. Petrus And St. Paulus Church] in Şanlıurfa; Germus Church of St. Jacob in Germus Village(Dağeteği); The ancient stone quarry of Bazda Maǧaralari (on the 15th and 16th km of the Soğmatar tourism road near Harran); Sumatar Harabesi, the ancient watering place and centre of a shrine to the God Sin (the Lord of the gods), 60km S-E of Şanlıurfa.
Natural HeritageThe 'hills of Nimrud'. south of Şanlıurfa.
Historical Recreations
Festivals of Tourist Interest
Tourist Office
Specialized Guides
Guided visitsFrom the city of Şanlıurfa.
AccommodationsAccommodations in Şanlıurfa.
RestaurantsRestaurants in Şanlıurfa.
BibliographySegal, J. B. Edessa ‘the Blessed City’. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.
Ross, Steven K. Roman Edessa 114-242 C.E. Routledge, 2001.
Keser Kayaalp, Elif. Church Architecture of Late Antique Northern Mesopotamia. Oxford Studies in Byzantium. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2021.
Monument or place to visitMonastery of Yakub
StyleRemains of Late Antique local masonry structures, later medieval addictions.
TypeMonastic complex.
Epoch5th century – 1453.
State of conservationAbandoned. Partially collapsed.
Degree of legal protection
Mailing addressKeberli, 63000 Eyyübiye/Şanlıurfa, TR.
Coordinates GPS37°7'16N 38°46'28E
Property, dependency
Possibility of visits by the general public or only specialists
Accessible to general public.
Conservation needs
Necessary cleaning and reinforcement operations.
Visiting hours and conditions
Ticket amount
Research work in progress
AccessibilityFrom the city of Şanlıurfa, the monastery is easily accessible by private vehicle or tours, or else it is within two hours of walking.
Signaling if it is registered on the route
Not registered yet.
Segal, J. B. Edessa ‘the Blessed City’. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.
Emma Loosley, “Dayr Yakub,” Architecture and Asceticism, 2012, © Architecture and Asceticism (architectureandasceticism.exeter.ac.uk)
Information websitesarchitectureandasceticism.exeter.ac.uk
LocationLocated in the Eyyübiye district in the center of Şanlıurfa province, 10 km S-W of the city centre of Şanlıurfa.