Göbeklitepe’s stele replica to be on display at UN headquarters
The replica of a 5.5-meter-tall massive ancient stele from the Göbeklitepe settlement in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa will impress diplomats and visitors at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry announced May 14.
The decorated stele named P-18 is an exact replica of an original one in the 12,000-year-old remains of Göbeklitepe, known as the world’s oldest temple, and will be presented to the U.N. as an official gift, the ministry said.
The stele of Göbeklitepe came into the spotlight worldwide after the year 2019 was declared as the “Year of Göbeklitepe.” The stele is the second Anatolian artifact to be exhibited at the U.N. headquarters in Manhattan, slated to be displayed permanently there in a bid to introduce the universal cultural heritage of the cradle of civilizations.
In 1970, an enlarged copper copy of the Egyptian-Hittite peace treaty, known as the Treaty of Kadesh, one of the world’s oldest examples of diplomatic texts dating back to around 1280 B.C., was presented to U Thant, the U.N. secretary-general at the time.
In 2019, preliminary contacts were made by the Turkish Foreign Ministry officials to present the U.N. a copy of a Göbeklitepe monolith.
Göbeklitepe has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List since 2011. It was discovered in 1963 when researchers from Istanbul and Chicago universities were working at the site.
In joint work at the site since 1995, the German Archaeological Institute and Şanlıurfa Museum have found T-shaped steles from the Neolithic era towering 3 to 6 meters high and weighing 40-60 tons.
During the excavations, diverse 12,000-year-old artifacts such as human statuettes 65 centimeters in height were also unearthed.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Zeynel Abidin Beyazgül said that announcement by the ministry was welcomed in the city.
Emphasizing that Göbeklitepe is an important world heritage, Beyazgül said, “Göbeklitepe is the common heritage of humanity, impressing not only the people of the land where it is located but also all humanity and the world. The fact that the replica of the stele in Göbeklitepe will be presented to the U.N. as an art gift will be an important promotion for Göbeklitepe.”
Stating that despite the COVID-19 outbreak, tourists continue to visit Göbeklitepe, he said, “Considered as the zero point of history with its 12,000 years of history on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Göbeklitepe hosted 197,912 domestic and foreign tourists in three months even during the pandemic.”