Gobeklitepe Museum and Ruins, History, Architecture and Importance

Gobeklitepe - SANLIURFA - TURKEY
Gobeklitepe - SANLIURFA - TURKEY

Gobeklitepe (Tr: Göbeklitepe) is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in human history. This ancient temple, located in the Haliliye district of Sanliurfa (Tr: Şanlıurfa), southeast of Turkey in 1995, offers important clues about the beliefs and cultures of people in prehistoric times. Gobeklitepe is a temple complex built by Stone Age people and also the oldest known temple in the world. It is estimated that these structures were built approximately 11,000 years ago. The discovery of Gobeklitepe has been an important step in understanding and making sense of human history. In this article, we will examine the history, structure, cultural and religious importance of Gobeklitepe, its importance and future in terms of world archaeology. We will present travel details of this tourist attraction, which is also a tourist destination, within the scope of places to visit.


Where is Gobeklitepe? How to get to Gobeklitepe?

Gobeklitepe is located in southeastern Turkey, approximately 15 km northeast of Sanliurfa province. Due to its location, it is approximately 18 km from Urfa city center.

There are several options to go to Gobeklitepe. First of all, you should go to Şanlıurfa. There are several flights to Şanlıurfa departing from Istanbul airports every day. Buses also depart from the bus station regularly and are more affordable, but the bus journey takes approximately 15-16 hours on average,and it is tiring and does not have the comfort of a plane. You can reach it with a journey that takes approximately 30-40 minutes by minibuses (It calls “Dolmuş“), which depart from Şanlıurfa center and are widely used as public transportation in Turkey. Additionally, if you want to go by private car, you can rent a car with or without a driver from the airport and city center. For those who choose to go by private vehicle, there are many roads from Şanlıurfa to Göbeklitepe. Since temperatures may be high during the trip, you should take care to wear appropriate clothing during the summer trip. Spring and autumn months are especially preferred for visiting Göbeklitepe.

Göbeklitepe Visiting Hours and Entrance Fee

Entrance to Göbeklitepe is paid and visiting hours are between 08.00-19.00 in summer and 08.00-17.00 in winter. The entrance fee for 2023 is 450 TL. (Turkish Liras) per person. Karahantepe Ruins can also be visited with the same entrance ticket.

Click HERE to find out the current entrance fee prices of Göbeklitepe Ruins.

In addition, guide services are offered in English, Turkish and German for those who want to get on-site information for better understanding of the visitors.

Gobeklitepe Accommodation

Visiting Gobeklitepe is usually planned as a one-day tour, but there are also different accommodation options for those who want to stay in the region for a longer time.

There are many hotels, hostels and accommodation options located in the center of Şanlıurfa, close to Gobeklitepe. Although there are generally more accommodation options in the city center in the region, there is also the option of tent camping in rural areas close to Göbeklitepe. There are also alternative accommodation options in the region, such as guest houses belonging to local people in the villages, to taste local flavors and experience local life.

Gobeklitepe is visited by many tourists from all over the world in four seasons of the year. This situation may also occasionally lead to the problem of not being able to find accommodation in accommodation units for those who will stay in the region. Therefore, when evaluating accommodation options, we recommend that you make reservations in advance to ensure that you travel at the best time to explore Gobeklitepe.

Discovery of Gobeklitepe and History of Gobeklitepe

Gobeklitepe is one of the oldest temple complexes in the world and was built approximately 11 thousand years ago. The area remained unknown for many years and was discovered by chance in the 1960s while local people were farming the land. However, the archaeological value of the region was not noticed at that time and its importance was not understood for a long time. Later, as a result of the excavations carried out by the German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt, the historical importance of this place was revealed and it was included in the World Heritage list.

The importance of Gobeklitepe is based on the idea that it is a cultural center dating back to the ancient times of human history and that people performed worship rituals here for the first time. The architecture of the buildings shows that they required technical skill far beyond other known structures of that period. These structures are considered as indicators of people’s knowledge, artistic understanding and belief systems of that period.

Before Gobeklitepe was discovered, we had limited information about the beliefs and culture of the people of that period. However, the architecture of the buildings and the archaeological findings provide clues about the belief systems and rituals of the people at that time.

The discovery of Gobeklitepe has changed our understanding of the origins of humanity’s belief systems, and these findings have shown that the history of people’s belief systems goes back much further than thought.

Gobeklitepe Museum

In addition to visiting the Göbeklitepe Ruins, visitors can also visit the Göbeklitepe Museum. The museum is located in the center of Şanlıurfa and is approximately 15 km away from Göbeklitepe Ruins.

In addition to the archaeological findings unearthed from the Gobeklitepe Ruins, historical artifacts specific to the Sanliurfa region are also exhibited in the museum. The exhibited works include pottery, sculptures, metal objects and manuscripts from various periods, from the Stone Age to the Ottoman Empire.

Guided tours are also organized in the museum to obtain detailed information about the Göbeklitepe Ruins and to learn about the history of the region as well as the archaeological findings.

Architectural Details and Structural Features of Gobeklitepe

The historical buildings in Gobeklitepe are a marvel of artistic architecture and construction, far beyond the technological and architectural knowledge of that period. The common feature of the buildings is a courtyard surrounded by huge stone columns. These columns consist of monolithic stone blocks extracted from quarries. The dimensions of each column are approximately 6 meters tall and weigh 50 tons. These large columns are decorated with elaborately carved figures. The figures in the buildings consist of different elements such as animals, plants, people and various symbols.

The materials and technologies used in Gobeklitepe were also quite advanced compared to that period. Unlike other structures used at that time, the structures were not brought together by combining stone blocks, but with iron or bronze parts used to hold the blocks together. This provided a very durable structure from an architectural point of view.

The design features and symbolism of Gobeklitepe show that the structures have a unique meaning. The structures bear the characteristics of temple complexes, and the T-shaped columns are especially striking in these structures. T-shaped columns are likened to the world tree symbolism in belief systems, and it is thought that the structures were designed according to this symbolism. In addition, the layout of the buildings is striking and carries symbolic meanings. The structures are arranged according to the positions of the stars and constellations, and this arrangement is thought to reflect a calendar.

Cultural and Religious Importance of Gobeklitepe

The historical artifacts and structures in Gobeklitepe are an important part of the belief and cultural systems that direct people’s social lives.

The religious and ritual purposes of the structures in Gobeklitepe are quite clear. The materials, construction techniques and symbolism used in the construction of the structures indicate the religious and ritual purposes carried out in the structures. Elements such as the T-shaped columns of the buildings, world tree symbolism and star calendars form the basis of belief and ritual systems.

For example, the T-shaped columns of the structures are associated with world tree symbolism. The world tree is a sacred symbol in many cultures and is considered a universal symbol. The symbolic arrangement of the structures shows interest in the sun, moon and stars, and it is therefore thought that the structures may have been used for astronomical rituals.

It is also believed that the stone rings around the structures were used for ritual purposes. These rings of stones may have formed a space for people to gather and perform ritual dances and ceremonies.

The animal reliefs found on the structures in Gobeklitepe may also have ritual purposes. Animal reliefs may point to people’s belief systems regarding hunting and animal husbandry. Additionally, animal reliefs can reflect people’s connection with the world.

These are just a few possible scenarios and there is no definitive information about the nature of the rituals. However, the symbolic and architectural features of the buildings provide important clues about the belief and cultural systems of the people of that period, how they perceived the world and how they respected the natural forces of the world. In addition, the symbolic order between the structures shows the interest of people of that period in the sky and natural events.

The cultural and religious importance of Gobeklitepe is remarkable. The structures and artifacts found there show how complex and advanced the belief and cultural systems of us humans were even 11,000 years ago. Gobeklitepe is an important turning point in the history of faith and culture of humanity, and its impact on belief and cultural systems continues even today.

The secret of Gobeklitepe

The secret of Gobeklitepe is surrounded by many question marks such as its purpose and date of construction. Gobeklitepe is considered the oldest temple in the world built by Stone Age people. The construction date of the structures in the ruins dates back to BC. It dates back to 10,000 years ago.

There are many theories about Gobeklitepe, its purpose of construction and its symbolism. In particular, the huge size of the structures, the engravings and symbols on the stones indicate that the structures were used for religious or ritual purposes. Some archaeologists think that Gobeklitepe was used as the center of people’s religious and cultural life during the period when societies were hunting and gathering before the agricultural revolution.

Although the secret of Gobeklitepe is still not fully solved, archaeological studies provide new clues about the purpose of its construction and its symbolism. The discovery of the structures at the site is an important step in understanding human history and culture, and archaeologists’ work continues.

Gobeklitepe Monoliths

The monoliths in Gobeklitepe, that is, giant columns made of single pieces of stone, are one of the most striking features of the region. These monoliths are interesting not only with their large size, but also with the detailed reliefs carved on them. The monoliths at Göbeklitepe are generally T-shaped and their dimensions vary between 3 and 6 meters. The reliefs on them include animal figures, geometric shapes and human figures. The detail of the reliefs shows that the people of the period were quite advanced in art and craftsmanship.

How the monoliths were transported and processed still remains a mystery. According to some theories, it is thought that thousands of people needed to work to move the monoliths. The processing of monoliths may have been done with stone tools, but this also requires a very long process. Therefore, the Gobeklitepe monoliths show that people may have pushed the limits of the technology available at that time.

Gobeklitepe Symbols

The structures and obelisks in Gobeklitepe have rich symbolic and stylistic features. These symbols indicate the religious and ritual purposes of the structures. Some symbols contain animal figures, especially depictions of animals such as wild boars, snakes, scorpions, foxes and lions. Some symbols include plant motifs, especially agricultural products such as wheat and barley.

The exact meanings and functions of the symbols at Gobeklitepe are still not fully understood and research is ongoing. However, it is thought that some of these symbols serve the religious and ritual purposes of the structures, while some are related to hunting and agricultural activities to meet the vital needs of the society. Additionally, symbols are thought to reflect the knowledge and belief systems that people have to live in harmony with nature.

Archaeological Importance of Göbeklitepe

Gobeklitepe is the oldest temple complex known to date and its construction dates back to B.C. It is dated to around 10,000 years ago. The discovery of Gobeklitepe is extremely important for world archaeology. Because this discovery shows that people developed complex social structures and cultures before settling down. Therefore, it not only helped us understand the pre-settled period and cultures in human history, but also fundamentally changed our current understanding of human history and culture.

The importance of Gobeklitepe for world archeology has also been recognized by UNESCO. In 2018, Gobeklitepe was included in the World Heritage List. This shows the impact and importance of Gobeklitepe on human history and culture.

Gobeklitepe and Karahantepe Connection

Gobeklitepe is located in the west of the Harran Plain, approximately 15 km northeast of Şanlıurfa. Karahantepe is located on the east bank of the Euphrates River (Tr:Fırat Nehri), approximately 60 km northeast of Sanliurfa. There is approximately 45 km distance between the two settlements.

Any connection or relationship between Gobeklitepe and Karahantepe has not yet been definitively proven. However, both settlements date to the same period. Similarly, structures containing T-shaped columns and animal figures were found in Karahantepe.

The fact that Gobeklitepe and Karahantepe belong to similar periods and cultures indicates the importance and richness of the region at that time. However, since archaeological studies have not yet been deepened enough, more data needs to be collected about the exact connection between these two settlements.

Preservation and Future of Göbeklitepe

Gobeklitepe is a structure that needs to be protected and restored as a settlement of great archaeological and cultural importance. For this reason, it has been kept under protection since the day it was first discovered. With the restoration and conservation works carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, it is aimed to better protect the structures in the region and make them more suitable for tourism.

Gobeklitepe, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list, is visited by thousands of local and foreign tourists every year. Therefore, Gobeklitepe’s tourism potential is quite high. Introducing the region to tourism and making it better in terms of tourism is important for the future of Gobeklitepe.

As one of the oldest structures in human history, Gobeklitepe is an important part of not only Turkey’s but also world history. That’s why it has become one of the most important tourist attractions of both Turkey and the world. Gobeklitepe, which helps us understand how people thousands of years ago lived, believed and used their technologies, has opened the door to many discoveries in the field of archaeology.

We invite everyone, history and archeology enthusiasts, to visit Gobeklitepe to discover this magnificent structure.

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