Göbeklitepe farmers await foreign tourists
The inclusion of Göbeklitepe, considered the world’s oldest temple and the “zero point” of history, in the UNESCO World Heritage List has given hope to farmers growing vegetables and fruits around the historic site in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
The ancient site, which had been on UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List since 2011, was included in the prestigious list in July. The decision came during the ongoing 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Committee session in Manama, Bahrain.
Locals selling fresh produce, mainly tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, melons and watermelons, on roadside stands are now looking forward to greet foreign tourists in Göbeklitepe.
One local farmer, Yılmaz Hicri, who grows fruits and vegetables on a vast 40,000-square-meter area, told state-run Anadolu Agency he was very happy to see Göbeklitepe recognized by UNESCO.
Hicri said he has been farming in the region for several years and many things were improving after the increase in the number of tourists.
“We grow many types of vegetables and fruits here. We used to sell them in a marketplace in the city center before, but in recent years, we have been selling them along the roads because more people have been coming here. Sales are very good. Göbeklitepe was included in the UNESCO list, and more tourists have begun coming. We believe it will be better in the coming days. Growing season continues until November. We expect foreign tourists to come until then. On weekends it is usually overcrowded. Our produce are organic, which is why tourists buy them,” he said.
Said Kazancı, another farmer, said Göbeklitepe farmers have successfully grown more produce this year due to increasing watering tools and opportunities.
He said selling their produce on roadside stands had contributed greatly to their incomes, especially with Göbeklitepe’s world-famous reputation.
“Despite the hot weather, tourists are coming here, especially after the UNESCO inclusion. It makes us very happy because visitors buy from us. We believe that more people will come after the weather gets cooler. We want to host tourists, especially foreign ones,” he said.
“This is the livelihood for many farmers here,” Kazancı said.