Göbeklitepe miniatures sold worldwide
Mehmet Tarık Yıldız, an entrepreneur in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, makes the miniatures of “T” shaped stones unearthed in archaeological excavations in Göbeklitepe, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and sells them through social media.
Yıldız said Göbeklitepe miniatures are in demand from many countries, especially from America and Russia.
The “T” shaped obelisks with wild animal figures, and souvenirs belonging to the ancient ruins are popular among local and foreign tourists in Göbeklitepe. Turning this interest into an opportunity, the young entrepreneur Yıldız collects small stones around the ancient site and processes the figures of wild animals, such as snakes, foxes, birds and scorpions, on these stones. Then he paints the stones with the antiquing technic and puts these stones, which are between 20 centimeters and one meter, up for sale on social media.
Living in the Örencik neighborhood, about 800 meters from the Göbeklitepe excavation site, Yıldız said that he had the idea of turning the tourist influx into the region into an opportunity.
Stating that he decided to make and sell Göbeklitepe souvenirs two years ago, he said, “I am making the miniatures of figured stones in Göbeklitepe. I am trying to do that with natural stones, just as people were processing stones 12,000 years ago. It is a very difficult and tiring job, but I love it. I try to draw the same shapes on the stones I find around Göbeklitepe.”
Yıldız stated that domestic and foreign tourists show great interest in souvenirs, and that he is trying to work on the orders made especially through social media. Stating that he finished the miniatures in a week, Yıldız said, “I receive too many orders from abroad. Right now, a request has come from Poland and I am working on it. Sometimes I work with a knife, sometimes with a snap blade knife. It takes a lot of time as it requires fine craftsmanship. Making the miniatures of large temples can sometimes take two to three weeks. There are serious demands from many different countries such as the U.S., Russia and England. Such temples and stones attract great interest abroad.”
He said he concentrated on smaller miniature works during the pandemic and produced around 1,500 works. He stated that the average completion time of larger works is 20 days, and that he sells miniature works between 30 and 5,000 Turkish Liras.