Göbeklitepe aspires to UNESCO status

Göbeklitepe aspires to UNESCO status

Göbeklitepe aspires to UNESCO status

The oldest known settlement in the world, Göbeklitepe, located in the southeastern Turkish province of Şanlıurfa, is expected to enter UNESCO’s permanent list next year.

Göbeklitepe, which is close to the Örencik neighborhood, 18 kilometers from Şanlıurfa city center, was discovered in 1963 when a team of researchers from Istanbul University and Chicago University conducted a surface survey of the area. Excavations have continued ever since then.

Göbeklitepe was included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List five years ago and will be one of Turkey’s nominees to enter the Permanent List during the 42nd World Heritage Committee in 2018. Final preparations are currently being made for the bid in Göbeklitepe, including the construction of a 4,000-squaremeter protective roof that is set to be completed in the coming days. The roof will facilitate the long-term preservation of the ancient settlement.

Various campaigns that aim to promote Göbeklitepe are also being carried out by the governor’s office, the municipality, tourism officials and non-governmental organizations. With the support of these campaigns, officials believe Göbeklitepe will officially become a UNESCO World Heritage Site next year.

Although the site currently closed because of the roof construction, visitors still have chance to see imitations of Göbeklitepe in the Şanlıurfa Museum Complex, which is Turkey’s biggest museum.

Şanlıurfa Culture and Tourism Director Aydın Aslan said a 6 million euro project has been carried out in Göbeklitepe with the support of the EU, state-run Anadou Agency reported.

“We are making Göbeklitepe ready for 2018. Pre-examinations have been made for the committee meeting. I hope that we will enter the list in 2018,” Aslan said, adding that UNESCO World Heritage status would make “great contributions to the region.”

“When you enter this list, you become one of the places most worth seeing in the world. We believe that Göbeklitepe will become better known by foreign tourists in 2018 and the number of visitors will increase. Göbeklitepe is a locomotive of Turkey as a whole, not just Şanlıurfa,” he added.

All works will be completed soon and the settlement is set to re-open to visitors in November, Aslan also said.
Şanlıurfa Mayor Nihat Çiftçi, meanwhile, said Göbeklitepe is the most important leg of the “Revival of History” project that is ongoing in the city. “Göbeklitepe is the strongest nominee in the list and we are working on it. In the coming days, UNESCO officials will come to the city to see the works in Göbeklitepe,” Çiftçi added.