PARIS - Anatolia News Agency
Foreign teams carry out archaeological excavations in the ancient Çatalhöyük. DHA photo
The World Heritage Center of the United Nations Edicational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee accepted the Çatalhöyük Neolithic settlement into the World Heritage list with a unanimous vote at a conference held on July 1 in St. Petersburg.
The committee’s decision was met with a thundering applause at the meeting, which was followed by the Turkish delegation receiving congratulations. The decision, made by experts from a total 21 countries which make up the World Heritage Committee, was based on the fact that Çatalhöyük met the basic criteria of the World Heritage Treaty in that it retained its authenticity and integrity and had a select value of universal quality.
The report on which the committee decision is based said that Çatalhöyük, whose history dates back to 7400 B.C., constituted a unique witness to a certain period of the Neolithic era and boasted an urban plan based on social understanding and the ideal of equality, representing an important stage in human history with its settlement mode.
Located in the Çumra district of the Central Anatolian city of Konya, Çatalhöyük is one of the most important archaeological centers in the world. The wall paintings in the ancient city are regarded as some of humanity’s earliest artworks.
It was first discovered in the late 1950s and excavated by James Mellaart between 1961 and 1965. The site rapidly became famous internationally due to the large size and dense occupation of the settlement. Since 1993 an international team of archaeologists has been carrying out new excavations and research.
With the inclusion of Çatalhöyük in the World Heritage List there are now 11 areas in Turkey included on the list.