Gobekli tepe is located near Orencik Village in Sanliurfa. It is 22 km away from Sanliurfa. It has been revealed during the excavations that it is the oldest and biggest place of worship known in the world. Its construction dates back to 10000 BC and pre-historic wheat seeds was found on its skirts. This means that sedentary life has been led in this region.
Archaeological studies were initiated in Gobekli tepe in 1995 and still continue. It is believed that the place of worship was covered 1000 years after its construction. With the excavations carried out, the temples hidden underground are unearthed.
Gobekli tepe has a field of view with a diameter of 300 meters and a height of 15 meters.
In Gobekli tepe, where there are 20 temples, 6 temples were unearthed during the excavations. It was determined to belong to the Neolithic Period. In the Neolithic period, people lived in small groups, fed plants, and were fed by hunting. It is thought that for the first time, a large crowd of people should be present in order to move the large columns in the region here. It is likely that the first transition of human beings to crowded life was Gobekli tepe.
Discover of Gobekli Tepe – The World’s First Temple
In 1963, they discovered Gobekli tepe during the “Southeastern Anatolia Prehistoric Research Project” carried out by Istanbul University and Chicago University, but they did not carry out any work there. In 1983, a shepherd grazing his animals found a carved stone and took it to the museum, the stone was exhibited in the museum but no research has been done until 1994. Klaus Schmidt from Heidelberg University conducted a research in the region in 1994 and found that the region has a high archaeological value. Thus, the first excavations started in 1995.
Gobekli tepe was included in the World Heritage Temporary List by UNESCO in 2011.
Gobekli Tepe Excavations
Gobekli tepe excavations are carried out on 4 layers. The First Layer is the surface fill. Second Layer Angular structures with obelisks from 8 and 9 thousand BC were revealed. In the Lion Building, there are lion reliefs on two of the four obelisks. In the second layer, which is considered as an intermediate layer, round and oval structures were found. In the third layer, circular structures with obelisks dating from 9-10 thousand BC were found.
In all the researches carried out in Gobekli tepe so far, many remains symbolizing life and agriculture have been found. Accordingly, it was thought to be the first settlement, assumed to be the first gathering area, but according to the research results, it was understood that Gobekli tepe was the first belief center and biggest temple on earth.
The Importance of Gobekli Tepe
Relief symbols on the columns in Gobekli tepe are accepted as the oldest pictures on earth. One of the important data found in the excavations is that there was no class distinction at that time, people were equal and everyone worked on the subject that they were expertised in. In addition, the floors of Gobekli tepe were found to be liquid-tight. This revealed that the rites were made with liquids such as blood, alcohol and water. In addition, large barrels, which are thought to be beer barrels, were found in the excavations and revealed the thesis that wheat was used for making beer, not for bread. One of the most important findings is that the first brain surgery on earth was performed in Gobekli tepe. A skull belonging to that period was found and it was found that the brain was opened and closed when examined.
It is believed that Gobekli tepe was buried by people for the purpose of hiding. It is properly covered and has remained intact until today.
Remains to be seen on the Gobekli Tepe Trip
There are informative information and animations at the entrance of Gobekli tepe. Reading and watching them helps a lot during the trip.
The excavations carried out to date include circular columns of different sizes, rectangular temple ruins, sculptures and T-shaped sewn stones. On the walls of the temples there are reliefs and carvings of human, animal symbols and figurines of unknown meaning.
There are closed spaces that are thought to be temples, created with T-shaped obelisks. For the moment, 6 of them have surfaced. The excavation area surrounded by a walking path is covered with a giant tent for protection. Following the walking path, all its remains are examined and a 12,000-year history strip is witnessed.
Transportation and Visiting Hours
There are number 100 buses to go to Gobekli tepe from Sanliurfa city center, that operate three times a day are 10.00 AM, 13.00 PM and 16.00 PM. Return times from Gobekli tepe are 12.00 PM, 15.00 PM and 18.00 PM. Transportation time is 30 minutes.
Another alternative to visit Gobekli tepe is to use the services of tour companies. Thus, guidance services are also used and a more useful trip.
It is also possible to rent a car from Sanliurfa Airport and go to Gobekli tepe.
The visiting hours of Gobekli tepe Ruins vary according to the season. It can be visited between 08.00 AM – 17.00 PM between 31 October – 1 April, between 08.00 AM – 19.00 PM between 1 April – 31 October.
You can also check out Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.
You can find further info about Gobekli Tepe.