World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located
“Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women”
Although some countries declare that specific cultural heritage belongs to them, the notion of “cultural heritage” in itself already suggests that it came into existence as a result of the idea of the “universal” value of human development. To address this point, UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) was founded with a mission to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, to protect universal cultural value, to prevent the annihilation of cultural properties and to “build peace in the minds of men”. In time, being able to own and pass the heritage of the past on to future generations became the main goal of many countries. Turkey is one of these countries.
In recent years, Turkey’s position on the Tentative List has gained importance rapidly, and shows some inconsistencies related to its position on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The history of participating in the World Cultural Heritage List, which began with the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği in 1984 and Hattuşa in 1985, continued with the Selimiye Mosque Complex and the Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük in 2012. With the inclusion of the Selimiye Mosque and the Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük, the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Turkey rose to 11. Also, Turkey has thirty seven cultural properties submitted on the Tentative List.
Turkey, with its cultural variety which is increasing through history, has an important structural group of monumental buildings, ranging from caves to the first temple of the world, from city walls to castles, towers to obelisks, churches to mosques, madrasahs, hospitals, hans and baths, fountains, tombs and mausoleums, palaces, mansions and waterside residences. This multi-coloured cultural mosaic, which bears the traces of every level of history, deserves to be called a “super power” of cultural heritage by UNESCO.
Turkey’s archaeological and cultural sites will both enrich the historical knowledge of the world, and advance its representation on an international stage such as UNESCO. Therefore, in light of their importance, the ability to protect and maintain these areas will continue to be maintained according to international standards.
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Just ten years ago, an important development occurred in humankind’s history in Anatolia. This development displayed the necessity of rewriting history all over again, changing all the previous understandings of scientists, who will probably investigate this new discovery for several centuries. A new archaeological site called Göbekli Tepe was unearthed in the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers. Challenging the most widely-accepted facts, a sanctuary was built for hunter-gatherers who are known to have lived as migrants in the region. It was the first structure of its kind in the world and this fascinating and mysterious building was built almost thirteen or fourteen millennia ago. T-shaped monumental obelisks which form round enclosures and decorated with carved reliefs of animals dazzled the scientists. A lot of questions have been asked which cannot be answered yet. Who were these people? What was their aim with building these structures? How did they build such a gorgeous building? Anatolia opened its doors to a mystery and history is to be rewritten.
Şanlıurfa, where Göbekli Tepe was discovered, is an important junction for humanity and religious history. The world’s oldest human statue was unearthed in this region as well. Göbekli Tepe has registered its name in the history of the world.
It is not the only wonder with which Anatolia provides us. In recent years, Yeşilova Höyük, which is situated in the prehistoric residential area of Izmir and was settled almost 6-7 thousand years ago, reveals important aspects of human history. Leaving the first settlers of Aegean Region, we move along to the most beautiful ancient city of the region: Assos, the city of philosophers. An academy was established here and philosophers invited to the city gave lessons in the gorgeous theatre. The magnificent Athena Temple is still standing intact on top of the Assos acropolis. Antandros, which is situated on the Aegean coast, tells us the story of the quarrel amongst goddesses and also the eternal love of Paris. Antandros was the venue of the first beauty contest in the world. Another ancient city, Stratonikeia, represents a living history in a modern city. You should come and see all the wonders of ANATOLIA and listen to the amazing stories that ANATOLIA tells you.
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