Where in the World is Harran From Dying Light?

Updated on February 3, 2015

Harran is a beautiful city set in a lush tropical setting and also happens to be a zombie enthusiasts dream destination. With luscious views, beautiful architecture, and zombies coming out the wazoo there seems to be only a singular problem: Where in the world is this city? Many want to know and Techland is remaining tightlipped about the fictional locations whereabouts, preferring to keep it an ambiguous it could be anywhere city. Even on the promotional Harran City website there is not even the slightest bit of information hinting at the cities 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 is 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 only doing a brief Google search and finding the city of Harran, Turkey.

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Harran TurkeyHarran Turkey
Harran Turkey
Harran Turkey
Harran Turkey
Harran Turkey

There are several problems arise with this theory, the largest being that Harran, Turkey is a landlocked town in the middle of a Mesopotamia, a desert. More over nothing about Harran, Turkey remotely fits the Dying Light's Harran. It's culture, people, and architecture do not resemble what is present in the game. On Reddit when this is discussed people from Turkey say the city looks nothing like anything in Turkey?

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Screenshot from in Game (at far distances graphic errors occur)Rio has a bridge as well, Chaos Bridge looks to be a hybrid of Rio–Niterói Bridge and Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge located in  São Paulo BrazilArab architecture in Rio De Janeiro
Screenshot from in Game (at far distances graphic errors occur)
Screenshot from in Game (at far distances graphic errors occur)
Rio has a bridge as well, Chaos Bridge looks to be a hybrid of Rio–Niterói Bridge and Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge located in  São Paulo Brazil
Rio has a bridge as well, Chaos Bridge looks to be a hybrid of Rio–Niterói Bridge and Octávio Frias de Oliveira Bridge located in São Paulo Brazil
Arab architecture in Rio De Janeiro
Arab architecture in Rio De Janeiro
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Favela Rocinha, Rio De JaneiroSlums, Harran
Favela Rocinha, Rio De Janeiro
Favela Rocinha, Rio De Janeiro | Source
Slums, Harran
Slums, Harran

Where then is the city? Our first clue comes from 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 bear 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 populatin 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 the Lebenon 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. Before immigration Brazil had a large population of African Muslim as well.

Arab's have had a large impact on Brazil. Textiles in the country have a large Arab influence, there are even mosques dotting the São Paulo. Rio De Janeiro hosts a couple 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 it's design, given the significant influence Arabs have in Brazil today.

Climate and Topography of Harran in Dying Light are unique an 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 countries Mediterranean Climates, which the city of Harran, Turkey is not. Harran is fictious, so the location of the city might be on the coast of Turkey, but this theory falls apart when one takes in the beautiful foliage, that sadly does not grow in Turkey.

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Characters in Dying Light can be typically seen dawning a 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 are more leaning toward a South American over Euro-Asian design to them.

In game there are a few hints to the city's inspiration. Harran has played host to major sporting events, the Harran Games. Rio De Janeiro similarly is famous for hosting several sporting events including the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2011 Military Games, Rio's Champion Cup (a Tennis Championship), and is set to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Paralympics. Both cities have a pension for sports, but there is one more hint in game.

When you undertake the Seachlights 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 are talking 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. Thus ruling out that Turkey can be the nation that houses Harran.

After all the research into the fictional city of Harran, Brazil, and Rio, 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 Lights equivalent does control the nation's entire military and would be the ones handling the Harran outbreak and containment.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image


        5 months ago

        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".

      • profile image


        9 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        A man named kyle crane 

        10 months ago

        the city i guess is near in surliufar which a nearby town of harran turkey

      • profile image

        A man with loosely stringed together statements 

        10 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        A Person that doesnt wanna give his name 

        11 months ago

        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''.

      • poppyr profile image


        13 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

        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.

      • profile image


        18 months ago

        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.

      • profile image


        19 months ago

        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.

      • profile image


        22 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Pedro Schmoeller 

        24 months ago

        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.

      • profile image

        2 years ago

        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

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        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.

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        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

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        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.


      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Street phones are also identical to the ones of brazil:


      • Phasmatis profile imageAUTHOR


        2 years ago

        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.

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        The names give away the location. We cant pinpoint an exact country, but those are definitely middle eastern names.

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        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.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        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.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        turkis person 

        3 years ago

        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

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        The directly said western hemisphere

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        I think it's based in Instanbul. Everything about it seems to match: the bridge, the slums, the architecture, the topography, and the music.

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        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


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