Is Harran in Brazil?
Harran is a beautiful city set in a lush tropical setting and also happens to be a zombie enthusiast's dream destination. With luscious views, beautiful architecture, and zombies coming out the wazoo, there seems to be only a singular question: Where in the world is this city?
Many want to know, and Techland is remaining tightlipped about the real-world whereabouts of the fictional location, preferring to keep it ambiguous. Even on the promotional Harran City website, there is not even the slightest bit of information hinting at the city's location. Hope is not lost though, as there are clues throughout the game and early development that point to the city's location: Brazil.
A theory has been going around the internet recently—people are claiming the that Harran is based in Turkey. This misconception comes from people missing the "This is a work of fiction, any correlation to anything in the real world is purely coincidental" disclaimer at the beginning of the game, along with brief Google searches yielding the city of Harran, Turkey.
Why Not Harran, Turkey?
There are several problems that arise with this theory, the largest being that Harran, Turkey, is a landlocked town in the middle of a Mesopotamia, a desert. Moreover, nothing about Harran, Turkey, remotely fits Dying Light's Harran. Its culture, people, and architecture do not resemble what is present in the game. When this is discussed on Reddit, people from Turkey say the city looks nothing like anything in Turkey.
The Argument for Rio de Janeiro
Where, then, is the city? Our first clue comes from the early development of the game where it was announced to be set in South America, but of course, things change as development goes on, so do we have any evidence that this remained true up until launch? A close comparison of Rio de Janeiro to the city of Hannan both in topography and appearance bears remarkable similarities.
One large criticism of the Rio de Janeiro theory proposed by those who believe that Harran is based in Turkey comes with the Islamic Architecture and Arab/Muslim population found in Dying Light. Here is where it gets interesting, South America has a significant Arab population. They are a minority, but they are present in South America with certain cities hosting large populations of them. Brazil has seen 11 million immigrants from Lebanon and Syria (mostly Christians) over the years. Most live in the São Paulo region, but a significant number of Arabs live in Rio De Janeiro as well. Before immigration, Brazil had a large population of African Muslims as well.
Arabs have had a large impact on Brazil. Textiles in the country have a significant Arab influence, and there are even mosques dotting the São Paulo. Rio de Janeiro hosts a couple of mosques as well. Habib's, a food chain that serves Arab food, is the second-largest food chain in Brazil. It is no wonder that when designing the city of Harran, there would be a significant Arab influence in its design given the significant influence Arabs have in Brazil today.
The climate and topography of Harran in Dying Light are unique and closely mirror the beautiful landscapes of Rio de Janeiro. For the city to be in Turkey, it would have to be in one of the country's Mediterranean Climates, which the city of Harran, Turkey, is not. Harran is fictitious, so the location of the city might be on the coast of Turkey, but this theory falls apart when one takes into account the beautiful foliage that sadly does not grow in Turkey.
Characters in Dying Light can be typically seen in garb with a South American feel. T-Shirts are common, jeans come in camo, cargo shorts are not uncommon, and what little Arab garb there is is only worn by a minority of characters on par with the percentage of Arabs in Brazil. Now, Turkey is a modern nation, but the difference in fabrics and clothing choices leans toward a South American over Euro-Asian influence in terms of design.
In-game, there are a few hints to the city's inspiration. Harran has played host to major sporting events, including the Harran Games. Rio de Janeiro is similarly famous for hosting several sporting events including the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2011 Military Games, Rio's Champion Cup (a tennis Championship), and the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Both cities have a pension for sports, but there is one more hint in the game.
When you undertake the Searchlights mission in Dying Light, you have to venture to Chaos Bridge to retrieve large UV lightbulbs from a failed project. As Crane and Aflie are discussing the mission, they talk about the early days of Harran's Quarantine and the project on the bridge. The UV lights were referred to as the largest in the Western Hemisphere. This rules out Turkey, which is in the Eastern Hemisphere.
After all the research into the fictional city of Harran, I can only come to the conclusion that the city is inspired by Rio de Janeiro and that the city in Dying Light is located on the Brazilian Coast. One last interesting tidbit about Brazil: it's Ministry of Defense—like the Dying Light equivalent—does control the nation's entire military and would be the ones handling the Harran outbreak and containment.
Hitsuran on April 28, 2019:
Its not turkey because of western hemisphere and currency is called harran dollars. But its same bullshit that it would be south america. I think its some kind of europan melting pot.
Nicc on April 19, 2019:
The buses in the game say Western European transit so I'm thinking Turkey
PiliPili on April 12, 2019:
At the stage of game production, I think that the artist referred to the city of Mumbai.
Please search for images on Google
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Kürşat on March 08, 2019:
Harran is a city in Turkey that is correct, however apperantly the game has created a fictionus city that resemblances with brazil and also with Turkey. The names are mostly Arabic and Turkish for example Gökhan is a pure Turkish name also Ezgi is totally Turkish. The harran city has parts of Turkey's İstanbul or another city but the slums are much more similar to the Brazil (Also Turkey somewhat has that kind of places but not as like Brazil). I also read on IGN Turkey that Techland said it is a fictionus city in Turkey that is inspired from İstanbul.
Jamônsio on August 17, 2018:
Brazil don't have islamic architeture, we have a few arabs and Harran isn't a portuguese or native brazilian name. If it was in Brazil the city would not have islamic buildings and the name would be something like "Cidade de Todos os Santos", "São Cristóvão" or "Tupiguarói".
IspeakPortuguese! on April 11, 2018:
I'm from Brazil and lived in Rio de Janeiro for a while. I really think Harran is a mix of lot's of cities, but I could easily see Rio on the images here.
A man named kyle crane on March 08, 2018:
the city i guess is near in surliufar which a nearby town of harran turkey
A man with loosely stringed together statements on February 20, 2018:
The city is clearly located somewhere in Europe. If you go to Old Town, or Sector 0, you can find buses that say “Trans-European” on the side. I’m thinking that the game is set it Turkey due to the names and the fact that Techland is based in Poland so, I assume, they just took a ride to Turkey to study the scenery.
A Person that doesnt wanna give his name on February 12, 2018:
I live in Turkey and I can confirm that the game takes place in Turkey.Harran is not that much of an urban region though.It's like people only visit it because of the history behind it.With its current condition I don't think you can even consider it as a ''city''.
Poppy from Enoshima, Japan on December 06, 2017:
I suppose they took influence from many different countries, cultures, and styles to create Harran. One thing that’s funny is that all the characters, even with their middle eastern accents, can speak perfect English and never speak their first language haha :) great article. Some very clever observations.
Tolga on June 25, 2017:
it's a little bit from there, little from some other. But probably influenced from Turkey as Most of the people's names in the game are real Turkish names. The bridge seems to be the same in Istanbul. Haran is a city in Turkey but the buildings or environment doesn't look like there. So I believe it's a Turkish cake with many other fruits in it.
Juan on June 09, 2017:
I know this may sound crazy, but I think Harran is in Indonesia.
Reason 1: Indonesia is a muslim country.
Reason 2: The architecture and the climate are similar. There's even a bridge that looks the same as the one in the game.
Reason 3: There's an indonesian flag in the Old Town.
Reason 4: There are some characters, for example Brecken, that have australian accent, and Australia is very close to Indonesia.
I hope this helped. The most probable thing is that Harran is a mix of different countries.
Mathis on March 23, 2017:
You've completely missed the fact that it can resemble Beirut, Amman or many other Middle Eastern cities.
Or it could just be a blend of several.
Pedro Schmoeller on January 23, 2017:
I'm Brazilian and I live in São Paulo; But I disagree about the game setting. The favelas of Rio de Janeiro are usually more organized than those presented in the game, and on the Islamic issue in the country, here in São Paulo there are some mosques and some neighborhoods with a greater concentration of Arabs, but it is almost minimal, for example, the Israeli influence is very Greater, even more so in Rio de Janeiro, where Arab culture is almost nil. About geography, really, in some aspects is very similar to the brazilian coast, but in the game, some mountains have snow, something practically nonexistent throughout the national territory.
h on January 10, 2017:
The slums are actually similar to the ones in Izmir, more than Rio. Also please don't talk about Arabs as we are talking about Turkey, which is not an Arab nation. But my biggest argument is that a lot of the characters including the main villain have Turkish names eg Kadir Süleyman aka Reis, which is an Ottoman military rank, Jade Aldemir, Rehim Aldemir, etc
Fabiano on December 07, 2016:
I live in rio and the architecture its nothing like here. Not even the slums, cause they're in hills here,never on the ground, and the old harram its completely different from here.
Kisa_pizza on September 14, 2016:
I have been around turkey when I drove with my parents and first off you could say it resembles Brazil but I believe that it's incorrect sure your facts are some what okay but there are places all over the world that can look like that and I have to say when I was travling around turkey there where small towns that resembled dying light remarkably straight down to how the streets and buildings where placed. When I started the game and roamed around abut I felt a sense of déjàvu like I have seen these before and I saw the bridge and thought of turkey Istanbuls Bosphorus and then there was all the Baklava you could find it just too much resembled turkey then when I was there we drove to giresun all the way to samsun and the towns along the way resembled Haran a lot idk if it could be another country but I belvie it's based in turkey maybe they took some things from rio too and morphed them together
FallonIsRambert on June 06, 2016:
Ought to consider the similarities between the plot and fear narrative in Dying Light to that in The Plague by Albert Camus.
Inspirations often being derived from multiple sources mashed together, I suspect Harran is actually Oran, but with influences from a variety of geographical locations and cultures.
Heh on March 25, 2016:
Street phones are also identical to the ones of brazil:
Phasmatis (author) on February 16, 2016:
There are a lot of arabian names and locations because of the large Muslim population in Brazil. Even Middle Eastern buildings were moved to Brazil by Muslims.
Michael on February 13, 2016:
The names give away the location. We cant pinpoint an exact country, but those are definitely middle eastern names.
Anonymous on February 02, 2016:
Umm, you haven't mentioned how most characters in the game have Turkish names. Kadir Süleyman/ Reis (which was a rank in the Ottoman/ Turkish empire), Kerim, Erol, Rehim, Ezgi, Ercan, Volkan and more.
CarBan on October 15, 2015:
The slums in the game are very similar to the ones found in Brazil. As someone commented here , the water container on the top of the houses and the typical design of the public telephones seem to be inspired in Brazil. The far hills seen in the landscape also resemble to the ones seen here in Rio de Janeiro. However , the old town has no similarity with Brazil at all. The architecture , furniture , decorative objects , might have turkey as inspiration. The name of all characters doesn't sound western as well.
Rafael on September 09, 2015:
Final proof that the game is set in Rio: google "orelhão" images. It's how we call our public pay phones here in Brazil. I've never seen this design anywhere in the world.
turkis person on April 30, 2015:
yes it is not harran but also its not rio de jenerio it is istanbul because istanbul has a large bridge and houses are very close to each other
bob on April 19, 2015:
The directly said western hemisphere
Brandon on April 11, 2015:
I think it's based in Instanbul. Everything about it seems to match: the bridge, the slums, the architecture, the topography, and the music.
Jesus on March 20, 2015:
just took me one look to the water containers over the houses with favela style, to know it was brazil at least.
Greetings of a mexican in spain