If you look around the Harran valley, you do not see any stones on the valley floor. The stone was quarried from the edges of the valley and transported to Harran. The length of the walls and the buildings required a lot of stone, again quarried at the edge of the valley 10-20 miles away. If you look closely at the walls surrounding Harran, you will notice that the majority of the wall is constructed of earthen works, with only a relatively short stone wall at the top. This speaks to the value and scarcity of stone. Large caves lie 11 miles (18 km) northeast of Harran on a road named for the Han-e Barür Caravanserai, and have gradually come into being over the centuries as stone was quarried for construction in the cities of Harran and Şuayb. The largest of the caves in places has two levels, and is made up of long galleries and tunnels.
The road to the caves is only paved part of the way, it then turns into a pretty bumpy dirt road. Unlike quarries of today, the technique in the past was to tunnel into the mountain and then extract the stones. We saw many smaller quarries on the way to the much larger Bazda caves on the road to Bazda. When you finally arrive, you will find a partially deserted village at the entrance to the caves. I am just going to present the rest of the pictures to let them speak for themselves.
The entrance, like the caves themselves is huge, large enough to drive a small camper truck into the caves. As you can see, there are other entrances. Because they are cool, even on a hot day, kids would do just that, and have parties in the caves. The government briefly considered making a recreational area inside but found the rocks unstable and scrapped the idea. They did build the walkway with steps to keep people from driving in. The hole in the ceiling allows light in and makes the space seem almost like a cathedral. The play of light and dark are magical, something that cannot be conveyed by words alone. Archaeologists have found writing on the walls dating back to the 13th century that say the stones that they carved out of these caves were used to create buildings in Harran. The main cave is at least 3-4 stories tall, with passageways that extend far into the mountain. The interesting thing is the passages on several levels, which would not be particularly convenient for getting rock out of the cave but might suggest mining activity. Even though the walls and buildings of Harran would have required a lot of stone, you can see from this cave how they obtained it, although the transport remains another story. If you visit Sanliurfa or Harran, consider a visit to the Bazda caves, a monumental space created in antiquity.
Daily News Bazda Caves: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/bazda-caves-near-harran.aspx?pageID=238&nID=47762&NewsCatID=379
Sanliurfa Tourism: http://www.kultur.gov.tr/EN,33671/sanliurfas-archaeologicl-and-historical-tourism.html
Megalithic Portal: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=32400