Turkey on the World Heritage List

Turkey is a vast country full of unique natural landscapes and a rich history and culture spanning centuries where great civilisations have lived and roamed. As a great many have already discovered, there is much more to Turkey than its beautiful beaches and warm weather; indeed, Turkey has 9 registered locations on UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s) World Heritage dotted all around the country.

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Two of these wonders were situated in what is now Turkey – although neither has survived to the present day: The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The Temple was built to house the cult image of Artemis Ephesia which shares many features in common with the Anatolian Mother Goddess Cybele. The temple was devastated by fire in 262 AD, and although the temple itself has not survived, some of its sculptures have and are now housed in the British Museum in London

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, in what is now Bodrum, was built of white marble, some 135 feet high. It was the tomb of the Persian Governor of Caria, Mausollos. The tomb’s fame spread to such an extent that the word ‘mausoleum’ is taken from a corruption of the Latin form, Mausolus, of the governor’s name. Today, only the foundations remain, although some of the sculptures can be seen in the British Museum in London.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey:

Strategically located on the Peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic movements for more than 2000 years.The cultural heritage of Istanbul is shaped by its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Anatolia, central Asia and the Middle East.

 

The city of Istanbul, the only city in the world to straddle two continents, was the capital of three great empires: The East Roman, The Byzantine and the Ottoman, embossing the city with a stunning architectural and cultural legacy manifested as a melting-pot of palaces, churches, mosques, synagogues and countless other historic public and private buildings.

“The Historic Areas of Istanbul” were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1985, and are composed of four main areas: The Archaeological Park, Süleymaniye Mosque and its associated Conservation Area, Zeyrek Mosque and its associated Conservation Area, Historic Walls of Istanbul.

 

Situated on the north-west Black Sea coast, Safranbolu is renowned for its charmingly well-preserved Ottoman houses dotted around its cobbled streets, as well as other famed must-sees including the Cinci Hani, a caravanaserai dating back to 1645, the Cinci Hamami, a 17th-century Turkish bath, as well as ramshackle wooden shops and a street of ironmongers. It is like walking around an open-air museum, as much of this type of architecture has now disappeared from Turkey.
Safranbolu was an important stop on the East-West trade route from the 13th Century to the advent of the railway, reaching its zenith in the 17th Century Ottoman period – hence its inhabitants’ wealth is evident in the lavish villas, many of which survive today.

The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, is one of the most important in Anatolia. At the height of their power, around 1300 BC, the Hittites had conquered most of Anatolia and were rivalling other great powers of the day, Egypt, Babylon and Assyria. Set in a national park area in what is now known as Bogazkoy, the city was originally built around 1600BC and was a hugely important city, originally containing some 70 temples, the largest of which, Buyuk Mabet, has been extremely well preserved. Perhaps the most famous of its monuments is they Lion’s Gate or Aslankapi, although originals are now in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara.

Cappadocia’s Göreme valley and its surroundings are one of the most mysterious and extraordinary natural landscapes in the world, even featuring as a backdrop in a Star Wars film. Over time, wind and weather have sculpted the sensual curves of this once-volcanic region, forming the pinnacles and peaks now known as ‘fairy chimneys’
This spectacular landscape has been the home of humans since the 4th century and the area is literally infused with cave dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns, as well as unique evidence of Byzantine art from the post-Iconoclastic period, much of which has been carefully restored.

The region of eastern Anatolia was conquered by the Seljuk Turks at the beginning of the 11th Century and became the seat of the Mengucekogullari tribe. In 1228-29, their leader, Emir Ahmet Shah, founded a mosque with its adjoining hospital at Divrigi. The kulliye, or mosque, is one of the finest examples of Seljuk stone carving and architecture in Turkey with its intricate and exuberant sculpture work adorned with carvings of plants and animals. The doorways are particularly ornate.

Mount Nemrut (Cultural)

The huge disembodied stone heads of Mount Nemrut are one of Turkey’s most iconic images. The site is remote, on a mountain-top some 2150m high, so it’s not entirely unsurprising that it was discovered as late as 1881 by a Germany engineer carrying out a survey. The statues represent the dream of Antiochus I (69-34 BC), who reigned over the Commagene kingdom. The tomb and temple complex consist of three terraces featuring seated statues of Greek and Persian gods 26-33 feet tall and although decapitated, the remains are still very impressive. The site can now be reached by road.

The remains of the ancient federation of Lycia, which encompassed some 19 independent cities, can be seen throughout the south-west corner of Turkey. Most striking are their tombs, particularly the rock tombs cut into high cliff faces. Xanthos, situated between Fethiye and Kalkan, became the capital of Lycia during the 2nd Century BC and is an impressive site with some excellent examples of Lycian tombs. It was here that a pillar inscribed in both Greek and Lycian was found, which enabled the Lycian language to be understood. Nearby Letoon was the Lycian religious centre, where the many temples can be found; however, today the site is partly flooded.

Pamukkale literally means ‘cotton castle’ and is one of Turkey’s most impressive natural wonders. Made up of a series of white travertine terraces cascading down a cliff almost 200 m high, they are caused by the calcite-laden spring waters which run down the cliff, congregating in warm pools on the terrace. In order to preserve the beauty of the terraces, visitors may not walk through them – but those who want to enjoy the thermal waters can take a dip in the nearby pool amongst fragments of marble pillars.

It was the thermal waters which lead to the founding of the spa town of Hierapolis at the end of the 2nd century BC by the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon. The remains, which can be visited today, include the ancient ruins of the baths, temples, the well-preserved theatre and the largest necropolis or graveyard in Anatolia containing 1200 tombs.

The name of Troy is one of the best known and evocative names of any historic sites in the world. Situated in Turkey close to the town of Canakkale at the entrance to the Dardanelles, it was the site of the siege of Troy by Spartan and Achaean warriors from Greece in the 13th or 12th century B.C., immortalised by Homer in the Iliad. In recognition of this, a replica wooden horse stands at the site.
Troy is, however, also of archaeological significance. Unearthed in the 19th Century by a Germany archaeologist, the site is formed of nine cities dating back to 3000 BC. The fortifications from the 6th city can still be seen, fortifications which were defended by Priam and his sons Hector and Paris – and into which the Greeks smuggled their famous wooden horse.

10 - Çatalhöyük Neolitik Kenti (Konya)

Çatalhoyuk lies on the Konya plain on the southern edge of the Anatolian Plateau at an elevation of just over 1000m above sea level; the highest point of the East mound of Çatalhöyük is 1020.3m above sea level, 16 m above the surrounding plain. Çatalhöyük lies within the village boundaries of Küçükköy, a small village of approximately 100 hundred houses located one kilometer to the north of the site. The sub-province centre of Çumra is 12km south/southwest of the site and the provincial capital of Konya is 60 kilometers away in northwestern direction.

The site Çatalhöyük is made up of two mounds: Çatalhöyük East and Çatalhöyük West. The east mound is clearly visible from some distance: the west mound is much lower with gently
sloping topography. Çatalhöyük east consist of 21m of Neolithic deposits dating from 7400-6200 B.C. with some later deposits consisting mainly of Byzantine burials and rubbish pits. Çatalhöyük West is 6m high and is almost exclusively Chalcolithic (6200-5200 B.C.), again with the presence of some Byzantine burials. The two mounds built up on either side of the Çarşamba Çay River which ran between the two mounds during the Neolithic period. Çatalhöyük was discovered in the 1950s by James Mellart. It was the largest known Neolithic site in the Near East at that time. Çatalhöyük East is 450m in length and 275m in width, approximately 23 acres.

The site represents significant social change and development: hunting taking place alongside the domestication of plants, the invention of pottery, and coming together of 1000s of people in a permanent settlement. Furthermore the two mounds span over 2000 years and indicate a high degree of continuity though time. Excavations which restarted in 1993 and continue today have reached the bottom of the East Mound and have discovered a total of 18 levels of occupation. Sampling has been undertaken of the whole site and society was egalitarian without large-scale centralized administration. Shelters have been built over excavated portions of the site, a Visitor Centre and experimental house have been constructed, facilities have been provided.

 

BURDUR
Archaeological Site Of Sagalassos

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 06/02/2009
List Reference: 5409
Criteria: Cultural

KONYA
Neolitic Site Of Catalhoyuk

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 06/02/2009
List Reference: 5410
Criteria: Cultural

ANTALYA
Archaeological Site of Perge

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 06/02/2009
List Reference: 5411
Criteria: Cultural

AYDIN
Archaeological Site of Aphrodisias

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 06/02/2009
List Reference: 5406
Criteria: Cultural

ANTALYA
Gulluk Mountain Termessos National Park

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1412
Criteria: Cultural

ANTALYA
Ancient Cities of Lycian Civilisation

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 06/02/2000
List Reference: 5408
Criteria: Cultural

ANTALYA
Kekova

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1411
Criteria: Cultural

AGRI
Ishak Pasha Palace

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1410
Criteria: Cultural

TARSUS
St. Paul Church, St. Paul&s Well and surrounding historic quarters

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1409
Criteria: Cultural

EDIRNE
Edirne Selimiye Mosque and Complex

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1408
Criteria: Cultural

BURDUR
Bursa and Cumalikizik Early Ottoman Urban and Rural Settlements

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1407
Criteria: Cultural

MARDIN
Mardin Cultural Landscape 

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1406
Criteria: Cultural

Seljuk Caravanserais
Seljuk Caravanserais on the route from Denizli to Dogubeyazit

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1403
Criteria: Cultural

DIYARBAKIR
The Citadel and the Walls of Diyarbakir

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1402
Criteria: Cultural

BITLIS
The Tombstones of Ahlat the Urartian and Ottoman Citadel

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1401
Criteria: Cultura

SANLIURFA
Harran and Sanliurfa Settlements

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1400
Criteria: Cultural

ANTALYA/Demre
St. Nicholas Church

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1399
Criteria: Cultural

MERSIN/Mut
Alahan Monastery

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1398
Criteria: Cultural

TRABZON/Macka
Sumela Monastery

(The Monastery of Virgin Mary)

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1397
Criteria: Cultural

ANTALYA
Karain Cave

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 01/02/1994
List Reference: 666
Criteria: Cultural

IZMIR/Selcuk
Ephesus

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 01/02/1994
List Reference: 665
Criteria: Cultural

ALANYA
Alanya Castle and Dockyard

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1405
Criteria: Cultural

KONYA
Konya A Capital of Seljuk Civilisation

Date of submission to
the Tentative World Heritage List: 25/02/2000
List Reference: 1404
Criteria: Cultural