UNESCO’s World Heritage in Turkey: Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe: Sneak a peek 11,000 years back to the history

Historical places have also attracted me. I find it amazing how we have the opportunity to travel to the past and see how our forebearers lived, what they worshipped, and even what problems they dealt with or what they thought about. One of the most interesting places I have visited so far was Herculaneum and Pompeii. It was also interesting to see pyramids in Cairo, however, I would like to dive deeper into the Egyptian culture and visit other places, to understand better ancient Egypt. Therefore, Göbekli Tepe is definitely on the second places when it comes to the most interesting archaeological sites I have visited so far.

Why?

First of all, Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known temple in the world. It is about 6,000 years older than Stonehenge! This makes this prehistoric worship about 11,000 years old. I think this itself is enough to make it special… and to for today’s visitor to feel special visiting it and having a privilege to explore temple so old.

Secondly, it is amazingly well preserved. Massive carved stones in a T shape are decorated with images of animals. Isn’t it amazing that we can see images 11,000 years old?!

Göbekli Tepe, can also be translated as “Bellied Hill”. The name makes all the sense. You see, all the hills around it have a flat top, but Göbekli Tepe has a belly. It seems that our ancestors have, for some unknown reason, covered the temple with the earth. Like these, they hid and also protected the temple. And besides that, the top of the hill was not flat anymore, but rounded, “bellied”.

Road, leading from the contemporary visitors’ centre to heart of Göbekli Tepe

Another interesting fact about Göbekli Tepe is that this particular location wasn’t chosen as a temple only once, but twice in history. On the second occasion, it was a place of burial and place, where locals came to ask for their wishes to come true. They had no clue about much bigger and older temple hidden under their feet.

One of many T shaped pillars. These pillars are standing in circles. Most probably they were carrying a kind of cover or roof on the top.

The last reason for my visit is the Netflix series: Atiye. Even though much of the series is based on fiction, it attracts many visitors to visit Göbekli Tepe.

Some interesting facts about Göbekli Tepe:

  • the excavations haven’t finished yet
  • there was no settlement in Göbekli Tepe. Those who made it, probably lived a few ten kilometres away
  • Klaus Schmidt is the person behind the most important archaeological discoveries about Göbekli Tepe. He moved from Germany to Urfa and still lives there.
  • T shaped pillars weight a few tons
  • Göbekli Tepe is located in Mesopotamia
  • Göbekli Tepe was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list just recently, in 2018

The easiest way to visit Göbekli Tepe is to take a bus or rent a car in Urfa.

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