Updated: Feb 2, 2021
The world was shocked with the discovery of Göbeklitepe, which was built about 7,500 years before the Egyptian Pyramids and English Stonehenge, with a history of about 12,000 years. In this manner, it is said to be the oldest known temple in human history.
But why this is so important for us?
In this article, I will be talking about the historicity of Göbeklitepe and then provide those who will visit it with useful information.
Where is Göbeklitepe?
Şanlıurfa, TURKEY 🇹🇷
-It takes half an hour by car from Urfa city center to Örencik where Göbeklitepe is found.
-It takes 2.5 hours by car from Diyarbakır center and 2.5 hours by car from the center of Mardin.
Why is Göbeklitepe so important? 🤔
1.It revealed that the religious institution begins before the beginning of people’s settled life: All researches conducted until the discovery of Göbeklitepe had concluded that the religious institution was formed after people settled down. Göbeklitepe revealed that this was wrong. In contrast, it revealed that the religious institution was formed about 2000 years before the settled life.
2. Zero Point of civilization has been redefined: Göbeklitepe revealed that the people who lived around 10,000 BC had a much more developed lifestyle than what we thought. Thus, the zero point of human history and civilization was redefined. In other words, Göbeklitepe changed the whole known flow of human history and showed that we need to re-evaluate all we know about the Neolithic period.
Discovery of Göbeklitepe 🕵
In 1983, a farmer named Mahmut Kılıç finds a carved stone while plowing his field and takes it to the Urfa Museum. However, museum officials cannot understand the importance of this stone. German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt starts with excavations in 1995 when he hears about this stone. Yet, the studies on this place are based on the work of the team established in 1963 in partnership with Istanbul University and the University of Chicago. When it comes to 1980, its importance is finally beginning to be noticed when the American archaeologist Peter Benedict mentions Göbeklitepe in one of his articles.
Mysteries of Göbeklitepe 😳
Of course, there are many theories and legends about Göbeklitepe. The most mysterious of these is undoubtedly the question of how these 12,000-year-old temples have survived until today. The reason is that the temples in Göbeklitepe were buried in tons of soil and flintstones about a thousand years after they were built. Besides, researches show that this was done deliberately by human hands. According to some theories, it was a star observatory at the time, but it was buried under the ground as it lost its function over time. But this theory is also uncertain.
In the middle of 20 round and oval structures with a diameter of 30 meters, there are 2 T-shaped, 5 meters high, limestone columns. The general belief is that Göbeklitepe was built for religious purposes, that is, a Stone Age temple. However, according to some theorists, it is also wrong to label it a temple because the people of that period did not have a temple perception yet. That's why we can call this place a gathering place.
6 structures have been unearthed in the excavations made so far, but according to the surveys, it is thought that there are 20 structures and more than 200 obelisks in total. The fact that these structures are structures requiring advanced architectural knowledge shows how advanced the people who were thought to be unable to even make pottery in the Neolithic Age were actually in technology.
These temples also help us to understand the connection between man and the sacred in the Neolithic Age, and the beliefs expressed by three-dimensional animal reliefs such as leopards, wild boars, storks, foxes, gazelles, scorpions, and snakes. Because most of the obelisks have human, animal, or abstract symbols engraved on the stone. The obelisks with hand, arm, and finger motifs on their bodies are thought to be stylized human sculptures.
Göbeklitepe is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List! 😎
Although Göbeklitepe was discovered in 1995, it was added to the world heritage list in 2018. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism declared 2019 as the year of Göbeklitepe. The excavations here and the research on Göbeklitepe are still continuing, and it is thought that the excavations may take another 150 years. It seems that Göbeklitepe has many more mysteries to be solved.
You can visit Unesco's website to learn more about Göbeklitepe's UNESCO status: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1572/
How Much Time Should I Take to Visit the Area? 👀
Göbeklitepe is a huge archaeological site, but only a small part of it has been unearthed for now. Therefore, the area you will visit is as much as you see in the photos. You should still consider spending 1 hour in total.
Visiting Hours (Check this out!)
Open every day.
April 15 / October 2: 08:00 - 19:00 (in Turkish time zone)
October 3 / April 14: 08:00 - 17:00 (in Turkish time zone)
Good news!!😃 You can also visit Göbeklitepe virtually by the following link: https://sanalmuze.gov.tr/TR-259963/gobeklitepe-orenyeri---sanliurfa.html
I hope you enjoyed learning about this huge historical discovery!
See you soon...