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Birecik is located in Turkey
Coordinates: 37°01′30″N 37°58′37″E / 37.02500°N 37.97694°E / 37.02500; 37.97694Coordinates: 37°01′30″N 37°58′37″E / 37.02500°N 37.97694°E / 37.02500; 37.97694
Country Turkey
Province Şanlıurfa
 • Mayor Mehmet Faruk Pınarbaşı (AKP)
 • District Governor Ozan Balcı
 • District 789.72 km2 (304.91 sq mi)
Elevation 450 m (1,480 ft)
Population (2012)[2]
 • Urban 48,706
 • District 91,605
 • District density 120/km2 (300/sq mi)

Birecik (Greek: Bithra, Βίρθα; Latin: Birtha; Arabic: al-Bīrah البيرة‎; Kurdish: Bêrecûg, Ottoman Turkish: بيره جك), also formerly known as Bir and during the Crusades as Bile, is a town and district of Şanlıurfa Province of Turkey, on the River Euphrates.

The place seems to have had a pre-Seleucid existence as Birtha, a name which revived under Roman rule (we hear of the emperor Julian resting there on his march into Mesopotamia, AD 363). The ferry over an unusually deep and narrow part of the Euphrates was used from time immemorial in the passage from North Syria to Harran (Charrae), Edessa and North Mesopotamia, and was second in importance only to that at Thapsacus, by which crossed the route to Babylon and South Mesopotamia.[3]

Birecik Dam and hydroelectric power plant, part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project is situated within the district. The Roman city of Zeugma is now drowned in the reservoir behind the dam. Zeugma's famous mosaics, including the 'river god', have been taken to Gaziantep Museum, but some rescued remains of Zeugma are exhibited in Birecik. With its rich architectural heritage, Birecik is a member of the Norwich-based European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTR) [1].

The Northern Bald Ibis used to nest here and winter in the deserts of Arabia, up to 1,000 pairs in the 1960s. Now a few dozen birds remain and these no longer migrate but remain protected year-round in Birecik.

Birecik is a bridge across the Euphrates and a useful stopping place on the road from Şanlıurfa to Gaziantep, with waterside restaurants.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Area of regions (including lakes), km²". Regional Statistics Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. 2002. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  2. ^ "Population of province/district centers and towns/villages by districts - 2012". Address Based Population Registration System (ABPRS) Database. Turkish Statistical Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Birejik". Encyclopædia Britannica 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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