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12,000 year old Gobeklitepe Temple in Turkey registers record number of visitors in 2021

Göbeklitepe, one of the world’s most important Neolithic Age settlements in Turkey, hosted 567,453 people in 2021, reaching the highest number of visitors in its modern history. The site has been inundated by local and foreign tourists since 2018, when it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and became accessible to visitors. Göbeklitepe is expected to draw even more visitors in 2022.

Located 15 kilometres northeast of Şanlıurfa, near Örencik village, Göbeklitepe has attracted local and foreign visitors since its discovery. Göbeklitepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2018, and the findings at the site offered dramatic new knowledge regarding the Neolithic Age. Interest in Göbeklitepe is expected to rise, with the Centre anticipated to host a record number of visitors in 2022.

With a history dating to 9600 BCE, Göbeklitepe changed the narrative on Neolithic Era hunter-gatherer communities. Göbeklitepe, built tens of centuries prior to the invention of writing and the wheel, 7,100 years before the Egyptian Pyramids and 6,100 years before Stonehenge, revealed evidence indicating that hunter-gatherer societies were more advanced than previously thought.

The T-shaped obelisks at Göbeklitepe, reaching up to 5.5 metres, are the first examples of human-made monumental architecture. These obelisks, which feature animal motifs, geometric shapes and human depictions reminiscent of a mythological narrative, show that Göbeklitepe was used as a belief centre.

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