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Turkey on the World Heritage List

Turkey signed the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention) in 1983 and through the work carried out under the responsibility of the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums, 10 properties were inscribed on the World Heritage List. Among these properties, Historic Areas of Istanbul, City of Safranbolu, Hattusha: the Hittite Capital, Nemrut Dağ, Xanthos - Letoon, Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, Archeological Site of Troy and Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex are listed as cultural, while Hierapolis - Pamukkale and Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia are listed both as cultural and natural site (mixed site).

In Turkey many civilizations were settled beginning from the earliest ages of humanity, signs of which are spread all around the country. The spectacular examples of the natural wonders support this rich cultural heritage.

Natural and Cultural Properties on the World Heritage List in Turkey

Historic Areas of Istanbul

Date of Inscription: 1985
Ref.: 356

Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

Strategically located on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul was successively the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire and has been associated with major events in political history, religious history and art history for more than 2,000 years. The city is situated on a peninsula which is surrounded by the Golden Horn (Haliç), a natural harbor on the north, the Bosphorus on the east and the Marmara Sea on the south. The Historic Peninsula, on which the former Byzantium and Constantinople developed, was surrounded by ancient walls, built initially by Theodosius in the early fifth century.

The Outstanding Universal Value of Istanbul resides in its unique integration of architectural masterpieces that reflect the meeting of Europe and Asia over many centuries, and in its incomparable skyline formed by the creative genius of Byzantine and Ottoman architects.

The distinctive and characteristic skyline of Istanbul was built up over many centuries and encompasses the  Hagia  Sophia whose vast dome reflects the architectural and decorative expertise of the 6th century,  the 15th century Fatih complex and Topkapi Palace - that was continually extended until the 19th century, the Süleymaniye Mosque complex and Sehzade Mosque complex, works of the chief architect Sinan, reflecting the climax of Ottoman architecture in the 16th century, the 17th century Blue Mosque and the slender minarets of the New Mosque near the port completed in 1664.

The four areas of the property are the Archaeological Park, at the tip of the Historic peninsula; the Suleymaniye quarter with Suleymaniye Mosque complex, bazaars and vernacular settlement around it; the Zeyrek area of settlement around the Zeyrek Mosque (the former church of the Pantocrator), and the area along both sides of the Theodosian land walls including remains of the former Blachernae Palace. These areas display architectural achievements of successive imperial periods also including the 17th century Blue Mosque, the Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque, the 16th century Şehzade Mosque complex, the 15th century Topkapi Palace, the hippodrome of Constantine, the aqueduct of Valens, the Justinian churches of Hagia Sophia, St. Irene, Küçük Ayasofya Mosque (the former church of the Sts Sergius and Bacchus), the Pantocrator Monastery founded under John II Comnene by Empress Irene; the former Church of the Holy Saviour of Chora with its mosaics and paintings dating from the 14th and 15th centuries; and many other exceptional examples of various building types including baths, cisterns, and tombs.

Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia


Date of Inscription:
1985
Ref.: 357

Category: Mixed (Cultural/Natural)
Criteria: (i) (iii) (v) (vii)

In a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme Valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post -Iconoclastic period. Dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns – the remains of a traditional human habitat dating back to the 4th century – can also be seen there. It contains unique natural features and displays a harmonious of natural and cultural landscape elements.

Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği

Date of Inscription: 1985
Ref.: 358

Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i) (iv)

The earliest settlement in Divriği and its environs goes back to the Hittite Period. In 1228-1229 Ahmet Shah and his wife Turan Melek founded a mosque, with its adjoining hospital, at Divriği during the Mengücekoğullari Period. The mosque has a single prayer room and is crowned by two cupolas. The highly sophisticated technique of vault construction and a creative, exuberant type of decorative sculpture - particularly on the three doorways, in contrast to the unadorned walls of the interior - are the unique features of this masterpiece of Islamic architecture.

Hattusha - The Hittite Capital


Date of Inscription:
1986
Ref.: 377

Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, is notable for its urban organization, the types of construction that have been preserved (temples, royal residences, fortifications), the rich ornamentation of the Lions' Gate and the Royal Gate, and the ensemble of rock art at Yazılıkaya. The city enjoyed considerable influence in Anatolia and northern Syria in the 2nd millennium B.C.

Nemrut Dağ

Date of Inscription: 1987
Ref.: 448

Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i) (iii) (iv)

The mausoleum of Antiochus I (69 – 34 B.C.), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander's empire, is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. The syncretism of its pantheon, and the lineage of its kings, which can be traced back through two sets of legends, Greek and Persian, is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom's culture.

Xanthos – Letoon

Date of Inscription: 1988
Ref.: 484

Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iii)

This site, which was the capital of Lycia, illustrates the blending of Lycian traditions and Hellenic influence, especially in its funerary art. The epigraphic inscriptions are crucial for our understanding of the history of the Lycian people and their Indo-European language.

Hierapolis – Pamukkale

Date of Inscription: 1988
Ref.: 485
Category: Mixed (Cultural/Natural)
Criteria: (iii) (iv) (vii)

Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (Cotton Palace) an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.

City of Safranbolu

Date of Inscription: 1994
Ref.: 614
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iv) (v)

From the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East–West trade route. Surviving buildings from this early period include the Old Mosque, Old Bath and Süleyman Pasha Medrese, all built in 1322. During its apogee in the 17th century, Safranbolu's architecture influenced urban development throughout much of the Ottoman Empire. It is a typical Ottoman city that has survived to the present day. The architectural forms of the buildings and the streets are illustrative of their period.

Archeological Site of Troy

Date of Inscription: 1998
Ref.: 849

Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iii) (vi)

Troy, with its 4,000 years of history, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The first excavations at the site were undertaken by the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. In scientific terms, its extensive remains are the most significant demonstration of the first contact between the civilizations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean world. Moreover, the siege of Troy by Spartan and Achaean warriors from Greece in the 13th or 12th century B.C., immortalized by Homer in the Iliad, has inspired great creative artists throughout the world ever since.

The archaeological site of Troy is of immense significance in the understanding of the development of European civilization at a critical stage in its early development. It is, moreover, of exceptional cultural importance because of the profound influence of Homer’s Iliad on the creative arts over more than two millennia.

Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex

Date of Inscription: 2011
Ref.: 1366

Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i) (iv)

The square Mosque with its single great dome and four slender minarets, dominates the skyline of the former Ottoman capital of Edirne. Sinan, the most famous of Ottoman architects in the 16th century, considered the complex, which includes madrasas (Islamic schools), a covered market, clock house, outer courtyard and library, to be his best work. The interior decoration using Iznik tiles from the peak period of their production testifies to an art form that remains unsurpassed in this material. The complex is considered to be the most harmonious expression ever achieved of the Ottoman külliye, a group of buildings constructed around a mosque and managed as a single institution.

Tentative List

A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination during the following years. States Parties are encouraged to submit in their Tentative Lists, properties which they consider to be cultural and/or natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List.

In Accordance with the criteria described in the Operational Guidelines for Implementation of World Heritage Convention Turkey’s tentative lists were submitted to the World Heritage Center in 1994, 2000, 2009 and 2011 by General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums. As of 2011, 26 properties are listed in our tentative list.

Relationships between world cultures, spirituality of sites, nomadism and migration, routes for people and goods, different modes of occupation of land, cultural landscapes, traditional life styles and settlements are all taken into account while preparing the tentative list.

In our tentative list, there are 2 mixed sites and 24 cultural sites. These sites are as follows:

- Ephesus                                                                                                                  (1994)
- Karain Cave                                                                                                            (1994)
- Alahan Monastery                                                                                                   (2000)
- Alanya                                                                                                                     (2000)
- Bursa and Cumalikizik Early Ottoman urban and rural settlements                         (2000)
- Güllük Dagi - Termessos National Park                                                                    (2000)
- Harran and Sanliurfa                                                                                               (2000)
- Ishak Pasha Palace                                                                                                 (2000)
- Kekova                                                                                                                    (2000)
- Konya - A capital of Seljuk Civilization                                                                     (2000)
- Mardin Cultural Landscape                                                                                      (2000)
- Seljuk Caravanserais on the Route from Denizli to Dogubeyazit                             (2000)
- St. Nicholas Church                                                                                                  (2000)
- St. Paul Church, St. Paul’s Well and surrounding historic quarters                          (2000)
- Sümela Monastery (The Monastery of Virgin Mary)                                                  (2000)
- The Citadel and the Walls of Diyarbakir                                                                   (2000)
- The Tombstones of Ahlat the Urartian and Ottoman citadel                                    (2000)
- Ancient Cities of Lycian Civilization                                                                          (2009)
- Archaeological Site of Aphrodisias                                                                           (2009)
- Archaeological Site of Perge                                                                                    (2009)
- Archaeological Site of Sagalassos                                                                           (2009)
- Neolithic Site of Catalhoyuk                                                                                     (2009)
- Bergama                                                                                                                  (2011)
- Esrefoglu Mosque                                                                                                    (2011)
- Hatay, St. Pierre Church                                                                                          (2011)
- The Archaeological Site of Göbeklitepe                                                                    (2011)

Ephesus

Date of Submission: 1994
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (v)

The Temple of Artemis, which was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is situated on the edge of this small town. The city which was situated at the beginning of the Persian Royal Road has survived sufficiently enough to enable us to understand the ancient way of life in Ephesus. It is one of the cities which played an impressive role in the beginnings of Christianity and during the period of its proliferation (St. John Church and the shrine of the Virgin Mary). It contains one of the most spectacular examples of religious architecture of the Seljuk Period.

Karain Cave
Date of Submission: 1994
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (iii) (vi)

The cave is situated 30 km. north, north-west of Antalya. It is on the east slope of mount Katran which is in the range of western Taurus Mountains. Carved in Cratese period limestone, its altitude is 430m from the sea level and 150m from the travertine plain. The plain which is formed by transgression is one of the largest travertine plains in the world. There are fine water springs where the plain meets the mountains. Geological and geomorphological researches in the recent years revealed a lake in the middle of the plain in Pleistocene; and many open air settlements in Paleolithic period. This is proved by the fossils of hippopotamus bones and shells of invertebrate found in the fauna of the Karain cave. The location of the cave is near the strait of Cubuk which is an important passage connecting the Mediterranean region with Inner Anatolia and the Region of Lakes. Karain is a complex of caves rather than a single cave. It consists of many chambers. These chambers are separated by calcite walls and narrow and curve passageways. Stalactites and stalagmites enrich the marvelous appearance of the cave. On the outer surface of the cave there are numerous niches and Greek inscriptions.


Alahan Monastery
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii) (iv)

The monastery and its adjoining structures lie at a distance of one hour's walk from the small village of Alahan. The group of buildings consists of small cells for the monks placed in the churches and in the rocks linked by a straight line of columns. The building complex stretches along the side of the mountain and covers an area of 30x200 m's. The existing cultural remains demonstrate that the complex was surrounded by small houses. It is quite possible that the monastery official and monks lived in these houses.

 Alanya
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (iii) (iv)

Alanya situated in the eastern part of the Gulf of Antalya is 137 kms away from Antalya by the main highway. The peninsula of Alanya surrounded by city walls was named "Karakesion" during the Hellenistic period went under the hegemony of Romans and Byzantines, followed by the Seljuks. Inside the Alanya castle there exist a Seljuk cistern, a Byzantine church, the Keykubat Sultan Palace and the ruins of a Seljuk bath, completed with the traditional urban texture. The castle extends down to the sea and encloses a medieval dockyard that is guarded by a 33 meter high octagonal tower of red stone and brick.

Bursa and Cumalikizik Early Ottoman urban and rural settlements
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i) (iii) (iv)

Bursa was founded in 200 BC by King Prusia of Bitinia and was ruled by the Roman and Byzantium Empires for centuries. The main importance of the city is that it became the first political centre of the Ottomans. There are 127 mosques, 45 tombs, 34 madrasas, 25 inns, 37 public bath houses, 14 public kitchens and dervish lodges constructed during the first 6 sultans of Ottomans.

Cumalikizik located on the northern skirts of Uludag was established to provide logistic support just before the conquer of Bursa. It has preserved not only its historical texture but the traditional lifestyle up to this date as well.

Güllük Dagi - Termessos National Park
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Mixed (Cultural/Natural)

Criteria: (ii) (iii) (v) (viii) (ix) (x)

Güllük Dagi National Park is located within the province of Antalya in a valley hidden between mountains. There is the ancient fortified city of Termessos rising 1050 m above the sea level. The most significant remains of the site are the city walls, Towers, King's Road, Hadrian's Gate, Gymnasium, Agora, Theatre, Odeon, Richly Decorated Tombs, cisterns and drainage system. Other features of the Natural Park are the step rocks of Güllük Dagi and the Mecine Canyon with its 600 m high walls along with the typical Mediterranean vegetation sheltering such endangered wild creatures as Mountain Goats, Fallow Deer and Golden Eagle.

Harran and Şanliurfa
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

Sanliurfa known as the city of prophets has a very rich and far reaching background, due to its location in the great fertile plain of upper Mesopotamia. Sanliurfa was praised as the city of prophets Hiob, Jethro and St. George besides Abraham who were said to have lived here.

This Holy city is full of historic religious, public and civil architectural buildings. All are the best examples of tradition and art stone.

The old city of Harran is situated in a land through which have run trade routes from Iskenderun to Antakya (ancient Antioch) and to Kargamıs. The city is mentioned in the Holy bible and in the documents founded at Mari (a city on the Northern Syria). It is important not only for hosting the early civilizations but it is the place where the first Islamic University is founded. The traditional civil architecture, mudbrick houses with conic roofs are unique.

Ishak Pasha Palace
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i) (iii) (iv)

Ishak Pasha Palace on the Silk Route near the Iranian frontier is situated on a high and vast platform of strategic importance on an area of 7600 meter square. It is not at all in the Ottoman tradition but is rather a mixture of Anatolian, Iranian and North Mesopotamian architectural tradition. The traditional model used in the construction of the Royal Palaces in the capital cities like Bursa, Edirne and Istanbul was taken as an example in the design of Ishak Pasha Palace. The western influence in Ottoman architecture during the post-classical period can be observed in Ishak Pasha Palace.

Kekova
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Mixed (Cultural/Natural)

Criteria: (ii) (iii) (v) (vii) (ix)

Kekova is the name of a region of fascinating islands, bays and ancient cities. Kekova has a rarely seen attraction, along the shore of the Island a sunken city is observed. The geological movements of the Island caused the city on the Island to be submerged, creating a strange scene with half of the city under water and half above. Teimiussa, Simena are the main Lycian settlements in the area. Kekova is the only area where the flying fish can be watched in this region.

Beyond its cultural features, Kekova shows very significant geological formations, ondulated coastal line, hydro biological features and scenic beauty of the area form an outstanding quality. It is a remarkable example of cultural continuity, and a living cultural asset as well.

Konya - A capital of Seljuk Civilization
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iv)

Konya a cradle of many civilizations became a center of culture and politics during the period of Seljuks. During the 12 th and 13 th centuries the city acted as the capital of Seljuks and many public buildings, examples of Seljukian stone carving were built at that time. Seljuks created a unique artistic world with cultural links reaching out from the Anatolian heartland to central Asia, the Middle East and the shores of the Mediterranean and Konya is the significant example of this world. The outer fortress of Konya and the Alaaddin Mosque, the Sirçali Madrasa, many small mosques and tombs are examples of Seljukian architectural elements of Konya.

Mardin Cultural Landscape
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iii) (iv)

Mardin is a city in a rocky region in southeastern Anatolia. The city is mainly medieval in origin and is situated on the slopes of a rocky hill, crowned by a fortress built on its citadel. This barren stoney region around Diyarbakır and Mardin stretches as far as Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep. The city as a whole with its traditional stone, religious and vernacular architecture and its terraced urban pattern is the best preserved example of Anatolian soil.  Having embodied many civilizations throughout history, Mardin displays very rich architectural, ethnographical, archaeological and historical values.

Seljuk Caravanserais on the Route from Denizli to Dogubeyazit
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iii) (iv)

The caravanserais, a new architectural type with social function developed in central Asia by the Karakhanids and Ghaznavids passed into Anatolian Turkish architecture. The institution of caravanserai has its most variations in Seljuk Anatolia, using the forms of Anatolian stone architecture. These buildings offering travelers in mountain and desert all the possibilities and comforts of civilization of the period each effectively a social foundation subject to an organized and continuous state programme, appear to present a typical characteristic of Turkish society, Denizli - Dogubeyazıt Route consists of about 40 Hans about which 10 are very well preserved.

Significant Hans and Caravanserais located on the proposed route:

Akhan
Pinarbasi Han
Egridir Han
Pınarpazarı Hanı
Kantarcı Han
Obruk Han
Oklu Han
Sultan Han (2)
Akhan
Ağzıkarahan
Sünnetli Han
Sikre Han
Ertokuş Han
Kireli Han
Elikesik Han
Kavak Han
Kuruçeşme Han
Altınapa Han
Sadettin Han
Zincirli Han
Akbaş Han
Öresin Han
Han Camisi
Sultan Han
Şahruk Köprüsü Han
Lala Kervansarayı
Gedik Han
Latif Han
Mugar Han
Cibci Han
Pervane Han
Kargı Han
Köprüköyü Hanı
Mamahatun Kervansarayı
Hacı Bekir Han

St. Nicholas Church
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (iii) (iv)

St. Nicholas church is in ancient Myria a large city in the Lykian Group developed tremendously in the 2nd century AD. The church is made for the Bishop of this Mediterranean city during the 4th century AD.

Myra was an intersection of trading routes in antique times, enabling the encounters of different cultures, both from the East and West, which acquired parts of the St. Nicholas cult. The relations with the Imperial capital, Constantinople, as well as many other cities, rendered the site a cosmopolitan centre of influence, both in terms of urban life and the development of Christianity. The great scale and wealth of St. Nicholas Church is a direct derivative of the role of Myra as a capital, which affected its whole urban fabric.

St. Paul Church, St. Paul’s Well and surrounding historic quarters
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii) (iv)


Tarsus is the birth place of St. Paul, situated on the edge of the fertile Çukurova plain. The city full of cedar groves was the meeting place of legendary lovers Antony and Cleopatra. There is the commerative Cleopatra gate, to reach St. Paul's well and the St. Paul Church, the old vernacular style streets of the city to be followed.

Sümela Monastery
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii)


Sümela is a monastic complex built into the rock cliffs of the Altındere Valley. Its construction began in 385 AD and continued until the 19th century. Barnabas, a monk from Athens and his nephew Sophronios built the section which comprised the first two rooms of the monastery in rocks.

The Citadel and The Walls Of Diyarbakir
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii) (v)

The citadel and the walls of Diyarbakir is situated 100 m. above the valley of River Tigris. Diyarbakir still carries a medieval atmosphere with its walls encircling the city. Although there were Roman and probably earlier walls here, the present walls date back to early Byzantine times. Diyarbakır Citadel and Walls, besides being the unique example with the inscriptions of written documents of Anatolian History, they also carry an outstanding universal value by keeping the archaeological features and atmosphere of various historical periods till today. There are sixteen keeps and five gates, each of which deserves seeing along with their inscriptions and reliefs. The black basalt walls are perfect examples of the military architecture of the Middle Ages. The walls today are 10-12 m high and 3-5 m thick.

The Tombstones of Ahlat the Urartian and Ottoman citadel
Date of Submission:
2000
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii)

Though the history of the city dates back to 900 BC, its famous for her tombstones dating to 12 th-15th centuries AD. It has an important place in the Islamic world in their variation within Anatolian tomb architecture in dimension and design.

Some of the most outstanding tombstones and mausoleums of the early Turkish period in Anatolia can be seen in Ahlat. These works are not only important sources of information on the technical and decorative repertoire of the period, but also act as historical sources for important masons and craftsmen, whose names appear in inscriptions there.

Ancient Cities of Lycian Civilization

Date of Submission: 2009
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)

The ancient geographical region of Lycia situates on the Teke Peninsula on the Mediterranean region of Turkey. Ancient Lycia was surrounded by Mediterranean Sea on the south, Caria on the west and Pamphylia on the east. Lycian Civilization is well-known by many remains in this area dated to 5th and 4th century B.C. belonging to Hellenistic and Roman Period. The written Egyptian and Hittite sources of dated back to the 2th millennium B.C. mentions a tribe called "Luka" or "Lukka" and Hittite king Suppiluliuma mentions his conquer the "Lycia Country" in 14th century B.C. Also, written sources about the Kadesh Battle calls these people as "Lukkies the sea people". According to the historians "Lukka" means "Land of the Light". Lycia was ruled by Syrian king Antiochus III starting from the end of the 2nd century B.C. until mid 2nd century B.C. In the mid 1st century B.C. "Lycian League" was established which comprised of 23 cities. This union was the first known democratic federation in the history which inspired the modern day democratic systems. In this system, principle cities had 3 votes while the others had 2 votes or 1 depending on their size. Major cities of this federation were Patara (being the capital city), Xanthos, Pinara, Olympos, Myra and Tlos which had three votes later joined Phaselis. Teke Peninsula also holds the other cities of Lycian League, many of those are well known from the systematic excavations, also form the coins and inscriptions namely Andriake, Sura, Kyaenai, Limyra, Theimmusa, Simena, Istlada, Trebende, Aperlae.

Archaeological Site of Aphrodisias

Date of Submission: 2009
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)

Aphrodisias lies in southwestern Turkey, in the fertile valley of the Dandalas River, a tributary of the Meander, about 150 kilometres east (inland) of the Aegean Sea. It is situated at the base of the Babadag mountain range, at 500 m above sea level.  The city was the capital of the ancient Roman province of Caria. The ancient city of Aphrodisias is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Greek and Roman periods in Turkey. Famous in antiquity for its sanctuary of Aphrodite, the city's patron goddess, Aphrodisias enjoyed a long and prosperous existence from the second century B.C. through the sixth century A.D.  Today, many of the city's ancient monuments remain standing, and excavations have unearthed numerous fine marble statues and other artifacts. The great beauty and extraordinary preservation of this site combine to bring the civic culture of the Greco-Roman world vividly to life.

Aphrodisias was founded on the site of an ancient local sanctuary in the second century B.C., according to the date of the earliest coins and inscriptions found in the site. In the late first century B.C., the city came under the personal protection of the Roman emperor Augustus, and a long period of growth and good fortune ensued. The first several centuries A.D. were especially prosperous, and most of the surviving buildings of the city date to this period. In the fourth century, Aphrodisias became the capital of the Roman province of Caria. The cosmopolitan character of the age is demonstrated by the presence in this city of an active Jewish community, attested in a famous inscription listing benefactors of the local Synagogue.

The first systematic excavations at the site were begun in 1961 under the aegis of New York University, and yielded many remains of the city's central monuments. In addition to the Temple of Aphrodite, major areas of investigation included the Bouleuterion or Council House, and the Sebasteion. The Sebasteion, a religious sanctuary dedicated to Aphrodite and the Roman emperors, is one of the most remarkable discoveries of Roman archaeology. It is one of the best-preserved examples of a Roman imperial cult complex, and is decorated with an extraordinary series of life-size marble reliefs (originally almost 200), which depict Roman emperors and imperial family members from ca. A.D. 20 to 60, as well as, personifications of the subject peoples of the Roman empire, and mythological heroes and gods. The reliefs provide an unparalleled insight into how Roman imperial power was understood from a local perspective. Other important public buildings are the Theatre, the Hadrianic Baths, and the Stadium; the latter seated 30,000 people, and is the best-preserved of all ancient stadiums. The buildings of the site are remarkable not only for the preservation of their architecture, but also for the many inscriptions, statues, reliefs, and other objects associated with them.

Aphrodisias is well-known for its fine sculpture. Good marble quarries are located only a few kilometres away from the city, and by the Late Hellenistic period, a strong local tradition of marble sculpture had already taken root. In later generations, Aphrodisian sculptors are known to have worked abroad on prestigious commissions, for example, at Hadrian's villa at Tivoli. The sculpture from the site is characterized by virtuosity and variety. Excavation has uncovered statues of, for example, gods, heroes, emperors, orators, philosophers, and boxers, as well as a great range of ornamental and figured relief. The finds range from grave reliefs of the second century B.C. to statues of the last Roman governors of the sixth century A.D. Many sculptures from the site already occupy key positions in the history of ancient art.

Archaeological Site of Perge

Date of Submission: 2009
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii)

Perge, the long-established city of Pamphylia region, is located 18 km east of Antalya and 2 km north of Aksu Village. The Archaeological site of Perge has been excavated systemically by Istanbul University since 1946. Archaeological finds in Perge date back to different periods beginning from the Late Chalcolitic Ages. It's revealed through the even rarely found remains that Perge had been settled permanently in Early Bronze Ages, meaning that it is a significant settlement witnessing permanent land use from the beginning of that time. One of the remains belonging to early periods of settlement has been excavated in Bogazköy. "Parha" name written on a bronze plate by cuneiform script and documenting an agreement in 13th BC is associated with the name of Perge. Any remains contemporary with the bronze plate has not been found yet.

During the Hellenistic period, the city also enlarged through the campaign in the south. City Walls of that era and a part of it (South Gate-the circular shaped tower) have been unearthed. The city is also known with the local sculptures. On the other hand, the women were very active on the administrative level of the city. This is also emphasized with the fine sculptures of the important women such as Platia Magna. Perge reigned by the Romans beginning from BC 133 by the legacy of Pergamon. An inscription excavated in Perge reveals the state organizations in the 1st AD and the location of Perge within this organizational scheme. According to this inscription, a federal state of Lykia and Pamphylia has been founded and Perge partook within this administration. The city benefited from the prosperity and built monumental structures, while welfare period last until the mid of the 3rd AD. The city remained under the Easter Roman domain beginning from the 5th AD, and then reigned by the Seljuks, Hamidogullari and the Ottomans respectively.

Archaeological Site of Sagalassos

Date of Submission: 2009
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iii)

The archaeological site of Sagalassos is located in southwest Turkey, near the present town of Ağlasun (Burdur province); roughly 110 km to the north of the well-known port and holiday resort of Antalya. The ancient city was founded on the south facing slopes of the Taurus mountain range and was the metropolis of the Roman province of Pisidia. Next to its mountainous landscape, a series of lakes form another typical feature of the regional geography. Today this region is known as the Lake District.

The first traces of hunter/gatherers in the territory of Sagalassos date back to some 12 000 years BP. During the eighth millennium BC, farmers settled along, the shores of Lake Burdur. During the Bronze Age, territorial "chiefdoms" developed in the region, whereas Sagalassos itself was most probably not yet occupied. This may have changed by the 14th century BC, when the mountain site of Salawassa was mentioned in Hittite documents, possibly to be identified with the later Sagalassos. Under Phrygian and Lydian domination the site gradually developed into an urban centre. During the Persian period, Pisidia became known for its warlike and rebellious factions; a reputation to which the region certainly lived up in 332 BC, when Alexander the Great experienced fierce resistance at Sagalassos while conquering the region as part of his conquest of the Persian kingdom.

Pisidia changed hands many times among the successors of Alexander, being incorporated into the kingdom Antigonos Monopthalmos (321-301 BC), perhaps regaining its autonomy under Lysimachos of Thrace (301-281 BC), and then being conquered again by the Seleucids of Syria (281-189 BC) and later given to Attalids of Pergamon (189-133 BC). The use of Greek, the development of Municipal institutions and material culture of Greek origin seem to testify to fairly quick Hellenisation, but the recent discovery at Tepe Düzen of an indigenous city, with a possible Hellenistic date makes clear that Hellenisation must have been a complex process. After the Attalids bequeathed their kingdom to Rome, Pisidia at first became part of the newly created Roman province of Asia, then, around 100 BC of the coastal province of Cilicia and once more of Asia around the middle of that century.

Sagalassos and its territory turned into dependable and very prospering Roman partners. In fact, the control of an extremely fertile territory with a surplus production of grain and olives, as well as the presence of excellent clay beds allowing an industrial production of high quality table ware ("Sagalassos red slip ware"), made the export of local products possible. Rapidly, under Roman Imperial rule, Sagalassos became the metropolis of Pisidia. Trouble only started around 400 AD, when the town had to fortify its civic centre against, among others, rebellious Isaurian tribes. Sagalassos seems to have remained rather prosperous even under these conditions. After the earthquake around 500 AD, it was restored with a great sense of monumentality. As a result of recurring epidemics after the middle of the 6th century and related general decline of the economic system in Asia Minor, the city started to lose population. Large parts of the town were abandoned and the urban life was replaced by a more rural way of living. In the 7th century AD, the situation had further aggravated due to continuous Arab raids and new epidemics when the city was struck once more with a heavy earthquake, most probably around 590 AD. Despite this disaster, recent research has proven that the city remained occupied until the 13th century in the form of isolated and well-defended hamlets, located on some promontories which maintained the name of the former ancient city. One of these hamlets found on the Alexander's Hill of Sagalassos was destroyed in mid 13th century, by which time Seljuk's had already build a bath and a caravanserai in the village in the valley (Ağlasun).

The abandoned ancient city was then rapidly covered under vegetation and erosion layers. As a result of its remote location, Sagalassos was not really looted in later periods and remained to be one of the best preserved ancient cities in the Mediterranean.

Neolithic Site of Catalhoyuk

Date of Submission: 2009
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iii) (iv)

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.

Bergama

Date of Submission: 2011
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

Bergama, lying on the northern-west of the Aegean Region, is 107 km away from the city center of Izmir and 30 km away from the sea shore. Bergama represents many archaeological remains dating back to Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods as well as prehistory. After the Persian and Lydian reign, the city came under the sway of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. and became one of the outstanding trading and cultural centers of the Hellenistic period since 283 B.C. During the rule of Eumenes II (197-159 B.C) Pergamon acropolis was adorned with its finest buildings whereas the city became the one of the most important centers of culture, architecture and sculpture in the Hellenistic world. Pergamon continued to be an important center in Roman times. It was the center of diocese during Byzantine times. Stones from previous Hellenistic and Roman buildings as well as ancient statuary were used as building materials.

The most remarkable monuments of the site is undoubtedly the Asklepion located on the southern-west of the Bergama; Acropol or "upper city" situated on a hill of 300 m., a middle city or "Roman city", Temple of Serapis (Red Courtyard) dated back to the 2nd A.D and the historic fabric with an organic form including Turkish-Islamic arts like mosques, madrasas, hans, bazaars and baths with many traditional houses, as well.

Acropolis is the site where the settlement first began in Pergamon. The main structures located in Acropolis are Temple of Athena, Temple of Dionysos, Temple of Agora, Zeus Altar, theatre for 10000 audiences, library, heroon, palaces, arsenals, upper agora, stoas, propylon and remains of some Hellenistic houses.

Asklepion, which was the healing center of the ancient time, signifies the term of the Place of Asklepios, who is one of Apollon's sons and is the God of healing and medicine and. According to the ancient historian Pausanias, Pergamum Asklepion was built in the first half of the 4th B.C. in a place called Ayvazali today and operated until the 4th A.D. It was also stated by the ancient historians that the healing cult was brought to Pergamum in the mid of 5th B.C. by the Arkhias, who is the son of Aristakhminos from Pergamum. Suggestion therapy, hydrotherapy and physical therapy, different methods of which are still used today, were applied to the patients in Asklepion. The treatments of psychotherapy, massage, herbal remedies, mud and bathing treatments, the interpretation of dreams, the drinking of sacred water, hunger and thirst cures are those other methods used. It is also known that surgery was applied when needed. There exist three small temples, resting rooms, sacred spring and pools of the Hellenistic period in the southern part of the Asklepion. These structures are rehabilitated, repaired and used in its original function in the Roman time, as well. Besides, theatre for 3500 audiences, which is the first Roman theatre in Anatolia with three-story stage, was built in the west edge of the northern gallery, and lathyrines were added to northern edge of the west gallery. It was also built a tunnel under the ground near sacred spring to protect patients from outside weather conditions. Sacred Site of Asklepion was a very significant medical center of its time also with its court with galleries, library, cult hall belonging to Emperor Hadrianus, and circular planned Temple of Asklepios, which was built in A.D.150 as an example of Pantheon in Rome. Sacred site of Asklepion maintained its importance until the Christianity.

Esrefoglu Mosque     

Date of Submission: 2011
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (ii) (iv)

Esrefoglu Mosque located 100 meters north of Beysehir Lake, in the Esrefoglu Neighborhood. The building size is 31,80 x 46,55 meters. Esrefoglu Mosque was constructed in a rich cultural environment as a complex with a tomb, caravanserai and a Turkish bath. The buildings around the mosque like madrasah and badastan belong to the later periods. Esrefoglu Mosque was built in 1299, by Emir Suleyman Bey. This date was clearly mentioned in the inscription panel on the inner door, ornamented with tiles.

Building is located along the north-south axis. North and east corner don't make a right angle. The edge was cut to constitute a fifth façade. The portal has 7,10 meters width, 10,10 meters height. The composition of the portal maintains the Seldjukid tradition. At the right of the portal, a minaret was erected that was well fitted to the façade. Harim, the inner space of the mosque, was composed by seven vertical naves to the mihrap wall separated by wooden beams. The middle nave is larger than the others and there is a window on the roof which is called Aydinlik Feneri. (Lantern) This element was used to give light to the inner space and on winters collect the snow and provide the humidity which wooden parts need. In south, in front of the mihrap wall a kargir dome was placed which is a Turkish architectural tradition.

Inner door to the harim and mihrap surfaces were plated by tile mosaics that are prominent examples of their era and maintain the Seldjukid Konya tradition. The composition on the tile mosaics consists of geometrical and botanical adornments, stalactites, rosettes and epigraphy. Minber that placed at the right of mihrap, was made of walnut tree wood and by a technique called Kündekari which is attaching the parts without gluing or nailing, just crossing. Wooden parts of the mosque were adorned by the richest examples of Kalemisi (hand-drawn) ornaments. This technique allows applying different colors on wood.                                     

Hatay, St. Pierre Church                                                                             

Date of Submission: 2011
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (iii) (vi)

St. Pierre Church is located on the west side of Asi River and by the west foot of Hac (Staurin) Mountain. The area where the church was constructed is the antique city of Antiokheia. As the Antiokheia got bigger between II. and IV. Centuries, church turned to be in the middle of the city, near the Agora. This means the building was important in the social life of people in that era. Although there is no concrete data on the exact construction date, the oral tradition, historical events and development process of the city suggest that the building was used since the first Christians in Antakya.

The cave in which the church was constructed is the place St. Pierre firstly preached. Later it was turned to an official church. The one-spaced building has 9,5 meters width, 13 meters length and 7 meters height. Its first construction is thought to consist of a cradle vaulted space acquired by caving a huge rock. This part was used since the period of first Christians of Antakya. This dates to an early time as 38-39 AD. Secondly, stone walls and two stone columns were added. By adding of these elements, building was enlarged. This two columned intervention separated the space into three naves.

The west façade was constructed by Kapuchin Priests in 19th century. The traces on the façade and platform in front suggest that there was a portico here formerly. West façade show a regional style which has a threefold layout. This façade was constructed by hewn stones and has three portals, middle one of which is bigger than the others.

The platform of hewn stones, altar and St. Pierre sculpture in a niche belong to recent times.

The Archaeological Site of Göbeklitepe

Date of Submission: 2011
Category:
Cultural
Criteria: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (vi)

The archaeological site of Göbeklitepe is located in the north east of the Sanlıurfa city center (southeast Turkey), 18 km away from the city center and close to the village of Örencik. Göbeklitepe is situated on the summit of mountain range, defining the northern border of Harran Plain, and stands out from afar, as a feature dominating the landscape. It is approximately 800 m above the sea level. The size of the mound, which is consisted of man-made remains, is approximately 300x300 m and the rock plateau on which this knoll stands, approximately 1 km long, is full of quarries and workshops of Neolithic Period.

The site was discovered in 1963 and named V52 as a Neolithic settlement, during the surface surveys realized as a part of a Joint Project named "Prehistoric Research in Southeastern Anatolia" by Istanbul University in cooperation with Chicago University. It was first mentioned in Peter Benedict's article "Survey Work in Southeastern Anatolia", in 1980, but not recognized in its importance. In 1994 the site was visited and described by Klaus Schmidt, scientist at the University of Heidelberg. It was only then that the monumental character of the site was recognized and comprehensive archaeological work carried out since 1995, at first as a cooperation between the Sanlıurfa Museum and the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), since 2007 as an excavation of the DAI directed by Klaus Schmidt.

The data, which were obtained as a result of the excavations continued uninterrupted since 1995 show that Göbeklitepe was a cult center, made by mankind and dated to approximately 12,000 years before present. It is composed of approximately 20 round and oval structures, reaching 30 m in diameter. 6 of them have been exposed in excavations and others were identified by surveys in geomagnetic and georadar methods. The results of excavations and surveys showed that Göbeklitepe was a 12,000 years old major meeting centre composed of monumental structures built for ceremonial purposes, instead of spaces of daily life.

There are two T shaped free-standing pillars of 5 meters long, formed throughout limestone, in the center of these round shaped structures. Smaller pillars in the same form were placed on interior walls of structures and directed to the pillars in the center. Animal motifs and various abstract symbols carved on pillars are findings of the remains of some kind of a communication system, a symbolic world, memory and messages of 12,000 years ago. Monumental structures of Göbeklitepe were deliberately filled with soil by the people of Neolithic period who built them. The last hunters, who had begun to change their lifestyle in this period, had covered and left their old identities, important beliefs of their hunter-gatherer lives and symbolic world. Therefore findings have survived without any damage.






 
     

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