The Caves of Bazda: Secrets of an Ancient Quarry in Turkey

Eastern Turkey is a real treasure trove of ancient cities of the world. One of mankind’s first civilizations along the Fertile Triangle developed here, and events described in the Bible also took place. Many tombs of prophets and other historical sites can be found in this region. One such site is the caves of Bazda.

Located a half hour’s drive from Harran, the caves of Bazda are a huge quarry where stone was quarried for the construction of buildings in Harran. Thousands of stones were carved from these caves and used to build a city that was of world importance in its time.

But the caves of Bazda are not just man-made dungeons left behind after stone mining. The volume of the stone quarried here is better appreciated from above. As you can see, stone was extracted by open-cut mining as well. The question then arises: why did the workers begin to mine the stone underground? Would it not be easier to continue this difficult work in the same way, from the side and by open mining?

However, we see the same traces of stone mining technology as in China and Japan. This shows that the ancient people used a similar method of stone mining not only in Turkey, but also in other parts of the world. The impression is that the rock was somehow made soft, and then simply scooped out with shovels before it solidified and became stone. Later this technology was lost and stone was extracted in the caves in the usual way, but the traces on the ceilings and walls of the caves left by the original methods of mining are still visible today.

The history of Harran goes back almost 10 thousand years! It is mentioned several times in the Bible. For example, Abraham’s father was buried here as well as other heroes of Holy Writ. Abraham himself stopped here with his tribe on his journey from Ur to Canaan.

The caves of Bazda are about 15 km. from the road from Harran to Khan el-Barour. They are historical quarries located on both sides of the road. They are known as “Bazda”, “Albazdu”, “Elbazd” or “Bozd”. The largest of the caves, in some places has two levels and consists of long galleries and tunnels. A large number of cavities, tunnels and galleries were formed in both caves as a result of stone mining over hundreds of years for the structures of Harran, Shuaib and Khan el-Barur.

Archaeologists have discovered inscriptions on the walls of the caves dating back to the 13th century which indicate that the stones cut from these caves were used to build buildings in Harran. Among the people who worked in the quarry were names such as Abdurrahman al-Haqqari, Muhammad ibn ibn Bakr, and Muhammad al-Uzar.

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