Turkey is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, and one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the world is Göbeklitepe. Located in the southeastern region of Turkey, Göbeklitepe is an ancient temple complex that dates back over 11,000 years, making it the oldest known temple in the world. Göbekli Tepe was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018, recognising its outstanding universal value as “one of the first manifestations of human-made monumental architecture”.
Göbeklitepe was discovered in 1963 by researchers from the University of Istanbul, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that excavation work began in earnest. Since then, archaeologists have uncovered a complex of T-shaped megalithic pillars, some of which are decorated with carvings of animals such as lions, snakes, and scorpions. These carvings are believed to have been created by the people who built Göbeklitepe, who were hunter-gatherers and farmers living in the region during the Neolithic period.
The temple complex is composed of several circular enclosures that contain the T-shaped pillars, with each enclosure featuring a central pair of larger pillars. These enclosures are thought to have been used for ritual and ceremonial purposes, and it is believed that the people who built Göbeklitepe used the site for communal gatherings, feasting, and possibly even sacrifice.
The architecture of Göbeklitepe is astonishing, given its age. The T-shaped pillars weigh up to 50 tons each, and the enclosures were built with stone slabs that weigh several tons. The site was constructed using only stone tools and the brute strength of the builders, as metal tools had not yet been invented.
Göbeklitepe is not just a remarkable archaeological site, but also a symbol of the beginning of civilization. The site is believed to be a testament to the emergence of agriculture, which allowed people to settle in one place and build permanent structures. It is also a testament to the development of religion and the emergence of complex societies.
Visiting Göbeklitepe is an unforgettable experience. The site has been beautifully preserved and is now open to visitors. You can explore the enclosures and marvel at the intricate carvings on the pillars, and learn about the history and culture of the people who built Göbeklitepe. There is also a museum on site that displays artifacts discovered during the excavations, including stone tools, pottery, and figurines.
Göbeklitepe is located near the city of Sanliurfa in southeastern Turkey, and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. The site is open to visitors year-round, and there are guided tours available in multiple languages.
In conclusion, Göbeklitepe is an extraordinary site that offers a glimpse into the ancient world and the beginnings of human civilization. If you are planning a trip to Turkey, a visit to Göbeklitepe is a must, and an experience that you will never forget.