Nestled in the ancient and mysterious landscapes of southeastern Turkey, Gobekli Tepe stands as a testament to the ingenuity and spirituality of our ancestors. Known as the world's oldest temple, this archaeological marvel is a place of wonder that sparks curiosity and reverence. Göbekli Tepe, often referred to as the "Potbelly Hill," is shrouded in an air of enigma that makes it one of the most intriguing archaeological sites on Earth. Offering an astonishing glimpse into the prehistoric past, Göbekli Tepe is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but a profound testament to the remarkable capabilities of our ancient ancestors. In this guide, we'll delve into the history, things to do, and how to explore this archaeological wonder, so you can embark on your own journey of discovery.
The Enigmatic History of Gobekli Tepe: A Journey through Time
Gobekli Tepe, often referred to as the "Potbelly Hill," is a site of unparalleled historical significance. Located in the southeastern region of Turkey, near the modern town of Şanlıurfa, Göbekli Tepe's history is nothing short of a revelation in the realm of archaeology.
Discovery and Excavation: Gobekli Tepe was first discovered in the 1960s by a group of Turkish archaeologists led by Dr. Resit Ergüder. However, it was not until the early 1990s that the site gained international recognition when it was excavated by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt.
Dating and Age: The history of Göbekli Tepe dates back to the Neolithic period, specifically the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period (PPN). Radiocarbon dating has placed the site's construction at around 9600 BC, making it over 11,000 years old. This dating is significant because it means that Göbekli Tepe was constructed during a time when humans were traditionally believed to be primarily nomadic hunters and gatherers.
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Structural Complexity: What makes Gobekli Tepe truly extraordinary is its complex of massive stone pillars, some weighing up to 16 tons, arranged in circular enclosures. These T-shaped pillars of Gobekli Tepe, often adorned with intricate carvings of animals and symbols, are considered one of the earliest examples of megalithic architecture.
Religious Significance: The purpose of Göbekli Tepe is still a subject of scholarly debate, but it is widely believed to have had religious or ceremonial significance. The elaborate carvings on the pillars depict a wide array of animals, including foxes, birds, scorpions, and more. These carvings are interpreted as representations of totemic or shamanic symbolism.
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Abandonment and Burial: One of the most intriguing aspects of Göbekli Tepe's history is its relatively abrupt abandonment. Around 8000 BC, the site was intentionally buried under tons of rubble and soil. The reasons for this burial are still a matter of speculation, but it is thought to have been a deliberate act, possibly due to changing religious or cultural practices.
Gobekli Tepe is a fascinating archaeological puzzle that continues to captivate researchers and history enthusiasts alike. As you explore this ancient site, you're essentially embarking on a journey into the distant past, where the origins of human civilization and spirituality converge.
How to Explore Gobekli Tepe: First Go to the Şanlıurfa Archaeology and Mosaic Museum
One can understand the importance of the discovery of Gobekli Tepe by knowing the fact that it is more than 6000 years older than the writing was invented. To know more about the site and the findings, one needs to get in-depth knowledge about it.
The best place for this purpose is the famous Şanlıurfa Archaeology and Mosaic Museum. This museum is among the best places to visit in Turkey to go on a time travel. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from Gobekli Tepe and its vicinity, including carved stone sculptures and various tools, showcasing the skills of neolithic man.
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The carvings at Gobekli Tepe Turkey provide detailed explanations and information on Mesopotamia 12,000 years ago, preparing visitors for a visit. Many significant carved stones have been recreated for close-up viewing, which is a rare experience at the museum.
If you go to the UNESCO Site after exploring the museum properly, you will understand the history and significance of it.
Opening Hours: 8 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Mondays
Entrance fee – 14 Lira
Note: The fee includes Mosaic Museum, worth a visit.
Nearby Attractions to Visit from Gobekli Tepe
In the region Gobekli Tepe archeological site is not the only site to explore but there are few other places too as well, where one can spend quality time. Although the place is a heaven for the history enthusiasts, the other attractions will also captivate tourists.
1. Urfa Castle
This historic seaside castle, over 600 years old, boasts a beautiful strait view and ancient iron guns. Located on a peninsula, it is a majestic and strong fortress.
Distance: 21.6 km via D400
Address: Yusufpaşa, Yakubiye, Ptt, 5. Cd., 63100 Eyyübiye/Şanlıurfa, Turkey
2. Gölbaşı Holy Land
The town is a rare tourist area with an elegant, quiet environment, a small number of foreigners, and a simple, supreme population, making it a worthwhile visit even on weekends.
Distance: 1.59 km
Address: Balikli Gol Cd. Sanliurfa Center
3. Karahan Tepe
Karahan Tepe, also known as "KeÇilitepe," is a historical site in the TEKTEK mountains of Southern Anatolia, Turkey, containing ancient monuments, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Göbekli Tepe, which is often referred to as its sister site.
Distance: 45 km
Address: Kargalı, 63290 Haliliye/Şanlıurfa, Türkiye
Things to Do at Gobekli Tepe
Except from exploring one of the Turkey UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there are plenty of things to do in and around the region. A few of them are listed below.
Explore the Archaeological Site
Begin your journey by exploring the awe-inspiring stone pillars, some of which reach up to 16 feet in height. These pillars are adorned with intricate carvings of animals and symbols, providing invaluable insights into the symbolism and culture of the people who built Göbekli Tepe.
Visit the on-site visitor center to gain a deeper understanding of Göbekli Tepe's history, excavation process, and its significance in the study of human history which should be added to the list of things to do in Turkey. Interactive displays and informative exhibits enhance your appreciation of this ancient site.
Join guided tours that are available on-site. Knowledgeable guides can provide valuable insights into the site's history, its mysteries, and the ongoing efforts to unravel them. These tours enrich your experience by shedding light on the archaeological significance of Göbekli Tepe.
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Capture the breathtaking beauty and the intriguing carvings of Göbekli Tepe. As you explore this archaeological treasure, make sure to have your camera ready to preserve the memories of your visit.
Hotels Near Gobekli Tepe: Places to Stay During Your Visit
You do not need to worry about where to stay when exploring Gobekli Tepe on your tour since you can find some of the best hotels in Turkey. A few of the hotels are situated around the site from where one may reach the site in less than 30 mins.
- 1. Vizyon Park Otel
Price: Approx. $43.00
Address: Yusufpaşa, Saraç Sk. No: 3
- 2. Serif Pasa Konaklari
Price: Approx. $34.00
Address: Kadıoğlu, 926. Sk. 13 A
- 3. Hilton Garden Inn Sanliurfa
Price: Approx. $91.00
Address: Karakoyunlu, 11 Nisan Fuar Cd. No: 54
- 4. Kaliruha Butik Otel
Price: Approx. $50.00
Address: Kurtuluş, 1009. Sk. No: 9
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Restaurants Near Gobekli Tepe: Places to Eat at During Your Trip
Exploring the site may tire and exhaust you but no need to worry as the place has a few of the restaurants in Turkey that will fill you with energy to charge you.
- 1. Pirzolog
Address: Cumhuriyet Cad. Sair Nabi Mah. No: 225 | Haliliye, Ebru Apt. Alti, Sanliurfa 63000, Turkey
- 2. Cigerci Yusuf
Address: Saniefendi Cad 1094 Sok, Sanliurfa, Turkey
- 3. Birlik Pastanesi
Address: Koprubasi, Sanliurfa, Turkey
Shops Near Gobekli Tepe
Thinking of shopping in Turkey near Gobekli Tepe, well you won’t be disappointed as there are quite a good shop around in around 10 kms distance. So, if you are looking to buy some souvenirs, go ahead.
- 1. Kervan Tarim
Opening Hours: Open on 8:00-18:30
Address: Pasabagi Mahallesi, Mevlana Cd. 20 B, 63040 Sanliurfa City Center / Sanliurfa, Turkey
- 2. ENTİ GROSS AVM
Opening Hours: Open on 10:00-22:00
Address: A, Devteyşti Mahallesi, Aciksu Cd. No: 237, 63050 Haliliye / Şanlıurfa, Turkey
- 3. Mirmar Avm
Opening Hours: Closed. If this location has reopened, please let us know.
Address: Karsıyaka, 546. Sk. No:45, 63040 Haliliye/Şanlıurfa, Türkiye
- 4. ÖZ KAHYA EMLAK
Address: Kısas Mahallesi, 63310 Şanlıurfa Center / Şanlıurfa, Turkey
Additional Information about Gobekli Tepe
- Address: Örencik, 63290 Haliliye/Şanlıurfa, Türkiye
- Location: Gobekli Tepe is 12 kilometers N/E of Sanliurfa
- Opening Hours: Everyday 9 am to 5 pm
- Founded: c. 9500 BCE; 11523 years ago
- Region: Southeastern Anatolia
- Excavation dates: 1995–present
- UNESCO Site Id: 1572 (Since 2018)
- Abandoned: c. 8000 BCE
- How to Reach Gobekli Tepe: Take a flight from Istanbul or Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Adiyaman or Sanliurfa cities, then arrange private transfers with a local tour guide.
- Distance Between Istanbul and Gobekli Tepe: Istanbul and Göbekli Tepe Archaeological Site are 950 km long distance, taking approximately 20 hours by car compared to 2 hours by flight.
- Other Attractions in Sanliurfa: Visit Sanliurfa Town, home to Prophet Abraham and thus a holy city for Muslims and Christians, and other sites like Harran Houses, Pool of Abraham, Kızılkoyun Necropolis, museums, churches, and historical buildings.
- Distance Between Gobekli Tepe near Mt Nemrut: The journey from Gobeklitepe to Mt Nemrut takes approximately 190 km in 3 hours by car.
Göbekli Tepe is a historical pilgrimage to the origins of human spirituality and civilization, offering a unique opportunity to connect with the ancestral roots of our shared history over 11,000 years ago. This ancient temple offers a journey of discovery that will leave a lasting impression on your understanding of the ancient world and its enduring mysteries. So, if you are planning a trip to ancient charm of the country, get yourself one of the best Turkey tour packages to explore the most of them.
Göbekli Tepe is an ancient archaeological site located in southeastern Turkey, near the town of Şanlıurfa.It is considered the oldest human construction in the world dating to the Neolithic Age and therefore it is a rich historic landmark that one should visit while in Turkey.
Göbekli Tepe dates back to around 9600 BC, making it over 11,000 years old.If you are a true history buff, visit this age-old historical landmark to discover the hidden truths.
Göbekli Tepe is considered the world's oldest temple and offers a profound glimpse into the early Neolithic period, challenging previous notions about ancient societies.
The builders of Göbekli Tepe were prehistoric people, likely organized into small communities. Their specific identity remains unknown.This is the reason why this site is submerged in mysteries to be unveiled.
The purpose is still debated, but it's believed to have had religious or ceremonial significance. The intricate carvings on the stone pillars suggest ritual or spiritual practices.
Visitors can explore the ancient stone pillars, intricate carvings, and several enclosures that were used for communal gatherings or rituals.
Yes, Göbekli Tepe is open to the public, and you can visit the site during designated hours.You can spend 2-3 hours in the site to gain some historical insights.
The nearest major city is Şanlıurfa. Visitors can reach Göbekli Tepe by hiring a taxi, joining guided tours, or renting a car from Şanlıurfa.
No, it's important to respect the site's rules and guidelines, which typically prohibit touching the stone pillars to protect the archaeological remains.
Yes, guided tours are often available on-site. Knowledgeable guides can provide valuable insights into the history and significance of Göbekli Tepe.It is advisable to opt for the guided tours to get a full-fledged insightful experience.