Göbeklitepe draws 500,000 visitors in first eight months

 Monday, October 31, 2022 

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Noted as popular tourist attraction of Türkiye, Göbeklitepe or Göbekli Tepe a Neolithic archaeological site in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of the country drew half a million visitors in the first eight months of 2022. Göbeklitepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018.

Also known as world’s first temple, Göbekli Tepe is located Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey. Since its discovery, Göbeklitepe has attracted hundreds of thousands of local and foreign visitors. Located 15 kilometres northeast of Şanlıurfa, near Örencik village, the Göbeklitepe Archaeological Site is approximately 11,500 years old and is home to the world’s oldest monumental remains related to faith. In the first eight months of 2022, this archaeological site drew a total of 500,000 visitors, the highest number in its modern history.

Opened to tourism in 2018, interest in Göbeklitepe is expected to increase. The centre anticipates receiving 700,000 visitors by the end of 2022. The discovery of Göbeklitepe, with a history dating to 9600 BC, delivered ground-breaking information about the hunter-gatherer Neolithic Age communities.

Built decades before the invention of writing and the wheel, more than seven thousand years before the Egyptian Pyramids and 6,600 years before Stonehenge, Göbeklitepe contains evidence that hunter-gatherer societies were far more advanced than previously believed.

The T-shaped obelisks in Göbeklitepe, reaching a height of 5.5 meters, constitute the first examples of monumental architecture erected by humans. These obelisks feature carved animal motifs, geometric shapes, and human depictions reminiscent of a mythological narrative, thus showing that Göbeklitepe was used as a belief centre.

The obelisks in Göbeklitepe were processed with flint, at a time when metal tools were not yet available. They are considered the oldest sculptures in the world and the oldest artistic creations in the history of humanity. Proving that Neolithic Age communities formed social organizations and collaborated on structures related to faith, Göbeklitepe also hosts the first examples of the transition to settled life.

Uncovering important information on the life of humanity’s prehistoric ancestors and seen as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the last decades, Göbeklitepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018 and became Türkiye’s 18th World Cultural Heritage Site.

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