SANLIURFA / Mardin, Turkey
The quartet of sights in the south-east of Turkey attracts more and more attention of tourists with its countless millennia of rich history.
The famous ancient place of Gobeclitepe in the province of Sanliurfa is one of the most popular destinations for both local and foreign tourists.
The Gobeclitepe, known as the oldest temple in the world, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2011. It was discovered in 1963, when researchers from the Universities of Istanbul and Chicago worked at the site.
It was also the most visited place in Turkey’s virtual museum program: 1.6 million visits.
Working at the site since 1995, the German Archaeological Institute and the Sunnliurf Museum have discovered Neolithic T-obelisks three to six meters (10-20 feet) high and weighing 40 to 60 tons.
Excavations also uncovered various 12,000-year-old artifacts, such as human figures measuring 65 centimeters.
Expressing satisfaction with the growing interest in the region, Muslim Koban, head of the regional chamber of tour guides, said that southeastern Turkey was the least dangerous region during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mount Nemrut World Heritage Site
Located in Kahta in Adiyaman Province, Mt. Nemrut, 2134 meters (7001 feet) high, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history.
Also known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, it is famous for its peak, where several huge statues of Greek and Persian gods are erected around what is considered the royal tomb of the first century BC.
Protected as a national park, the region annually attracts thousands of local and foreign tourists.
After climbing Mount Nemrut, visitors have the opportunity to see a unique sunset after a 40-minute walk of 800 meters (875 yards).
Local and foreign tourists take pictures to capture the beautiful view of the mountain top before sunset.
The ancient city of Daraa
In addition to its historical texture, Mardin is one of the most unique places to visit Turkey due to the harmony in the city that has arisen due to the positive connections between different denominations.
The ruins of the ancient city of Dara with ancient rock tombs dating back to the V century AD are called “Mesopotamian Ephesus”. Dara was an important settlement on the famous Silk Road.
The ancient city of Roman times, just 30 kilometers from the center of Mardin, boasts a popular necropolis, where religious ceremonies were held and hundreds of people were buried.
Ahmet Alanli, secretary general of the Dikli Development Agency (DIKA), said Dara has one of the most important city walls in the world.
“We plan to include Daru in the previous UNESCO World Heritage List. Our goal is to attract tourism here and ensure the development of the region,” he added.
Esemeksky open-air museum
Located in the village of Esemek in the area of Islahiye Gaziantep, the open-air museum and sculpture workshop Esemek – another historic place that attracts tourists.
Archaeological excavations, which show 518 statues included in the previous UNESCO World Heritage List, are visited annually by about 15,000 people.
“In 2020, the museum was visited by 8683 people. This, of course, is very little for us. Figures have fallen due to COVID-19, but I believe that with normalization, the number of visitors will grow again, “said Ali Chicek, the museum. guide for almost 20 years.
This unique site was a quarry in the Hittite period and covers an area of 100,000 square meters (120,000 square yards), making it the largest known stone workshop in the ancient Middle East.