Ancient Temple in Turkey Added to UNESCO's World Heritage List

Goebekli Tepe
Photo by iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added Turkey’s Goebekli Tepe, known as “The Oldest Temple in the World,” to its World Heritage List. The site was added during the 42nd World Heritage Committee meeting in Manama Krakow, Bahrain.

Discovered by researchers from Istanbul and Chicago universities over fifty years ago, the UN department says this old temple, located in the Germus mountains of southeastern Anatolia, was established by hunter-gatherers in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic age between 9,600 and 8,200 BC. It was likely used for funerals. The ancient structure houses distinctive T-shaped pillars with images of wild animals, and these demonstrate what Mesopotamians who existed over 11,000 years ago believed and practiced.

Other Turkish sites added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List include:

  • 2017 - Aphrodisias
  • 2016 - Archaeological Site of Ani
  • 2015 - Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape
  • 2015 - Ephesus
  • 2014 - Bursa and Cumalikizik: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire
  • 2014 - Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape
  • 2012 - Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük
  • 2011 - Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex
  • 1998 - Archaeological Site of Troy
  • 1998 - Hierapolis-Pamukkale
  • 1994 - City of Safranbolu
  • 1988 - Xanthos-Letoon
  • 1987 - Nemrut Mountain
  • 1986 - Hattusha: The Hittite Capital
  • 1985 - Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi
  • 1985 - Historic Areas of Istanbul
  • 1985 - Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia

For more information on this historic monument, visit Turkey’s official travel guide at

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