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About 46km east of Gaziantep, right by the Euphrates River (Firat Nehri), Birecik is one of the few nesting places in the world of the eastern bald ibis ( Geronticus eremita),a bird species that, sadly,hovers on the brink of extinction.

The birds are ragged, released into the wild, and supposed to be here only during the breeding season (February to July), but you can usually see at least a few of the home-bodies year-round.

If you've got your own vehicle, getting to the breeding station is reasonably simple. Follow the riverbank north for about 1km looking out on the right for the brown-and- yellow sign marked Birecik Kelaynak Üretme Istasyonu (Birecik Ibis Breeding Station 7am -7pm)

If feathered creatures are not your thing, you can visit the ruins of the fortress that is perched on the hill.

If you get stuck in Birecik head to the Mirkelam Otel & Restaurant on the highway just west of the Euphrates, where the coaches stop. This motel-like establishment is not exactly a honeymoon destination but at least it is clean, serviceable and well-organized.

The best place for a good meal is Kıyı restaurant right by the Euphrates, about 509 m from Mirkelam Otel (it's signposted). Picture this; an open-air terrace overlooking the river, great views of the fortress lots of shade and plenty fresh fish. Wash it all down with a glass of beer -this is all the therapy you need after half day's sightseeing.

Any of the buses traveling between Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep can drop you at Birecik, you can easily make a stop-off  visit on your way through without having to stay overnight  (provided you are ready to leave by early afternoon). At Birecik ask to be let off at the Kale (fortress), by the river. Then you will have to walk 1.3 kilometers to the breeding station or hire a taxi.


The small otogar is near the vegetable market, by the river, at the foot of the fortress. There are frequent minibuses to Şanlıurfa (1,5hours) and Gaziantep (one hour). For Halfeti (45 km/,there are regular minibuses on weekdays, but very few services  at weekends. A taxi ride to Halfeti costs about €26.