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Haran (place)

See also Haran (city)

HARAN (place) hâr’ ən (חָרָ֖ן; Χαρράν, G5924); KJV NT CHARRAN, kâr’on. A city of Mesopotamia situated c. twenty m. SE of Urfa (Edessa) on the river Balikh, a tributary of the Euphrates. It was an important commercial center because of its location on one of the main trade routes between Babylonia and the Mediterranean.

Excavations show that Haran flourished from at least the 3rd millennium b.c. It was conquered by Shalmaneser I in the 13th cent. b.c., and is mentioned by Tiglath-pileser I (c. 1115 b.c.) in a prism inscr. For a long time it was an Assyrian provincial capital, but was destroyed because of a rebellion in 763 b.c., an event apparently referred to in 2 Kings 19:12. It was restored by Sargon II. The last king of Assyria, Ashur-urballit, made Haran his capital in 612 b.c., after the destruction of Nineveh by the Babylonians, but he was forced to abandon the city in 610 b.c.

In ancient times, and until about the 11th cent. a.d., Haran was the center of successive forms of the worship of Sin, the moon-god. It was successively ruled by Zoroastrians, Nestorian Christians, Moslems, and Crusaders.

Haran has been continuously occupied and has retained its name (Harran) from its recorded beginnings until the present day, although now a small Arab village. Excavations begun in 1951 by the joint Anglo-Turkish Expedition have recovered remains going back to the 9th cent. b.c.


W. F. Albright, “The Role of the Postdiluvian Patriarchs in Hebrew History,” JBL, XLIII (1924), 385-393; S. Lloyd and W. Brice, “Harran,” Anatolian Studies, I (1951), 77-111.