As a gateway between Europe and Asia, Turkey plays an important role in the history of human civilization. Turkey formerly accepting to be a part of UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The World Heritage List enlisted about eighteen historically significant sites. To know more of the mystical treasures of history that lie in modern Turkey, continue to read what lies ahead.
The World Heritage Committee added the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, Historic Areas of Istanbul and Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia in the list, on their 9th Session.
The Ottoman Remnants
Istanbul made it to the list due to its link to multiple dynasties within its timeline. It is the most populated city in Turkey. Istanbul is also the country’s economic, cultural and historical center point. Many well known works of architecture are situation inside this glorious city. For example; Sultanahmet Camii or The Blue Mosque of Ahmed I, Topkapı Palace and the Hagia Sophia.
Moreover the City of Bursa and the nearby village of Cumalıkızık are also a part of the heritage list. The site demonstrates the urban and rural system of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century. The tomb of Orhan Ghazi, founder of the Ottoman dynasty is also within the city.
In 1994, Safranbolu entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Just like many other cities in the list, it became a part due to its well-conserved Ottoman era houses and architecture.
Ancient Greek Remnants
The Mount Nemrut (Nemrut Dağ) is one the highest peaks of the Mesopotamia. Some historians claim that Commagene Kingdom occupied a land between the Taurus Mountains and the Euphrates. The kingdom ruled over those and for almost two centuries between 109 BC and 72 AD.
The late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene built the Hierotheseion named as Nemrut Dağ in his life. Generally,the Hierotheseion of Antiochos I is believed to be one of the most ambitious structures of the Hellenistic period. Above all, Mithridates I, the founder of the kingdom had ancestral link to both Darius the Great of Achaemenid Empire and Alexander the Great.
One of the most famous World Heritage Site is the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, on the coast of Ionia. The famous Temple of Artemis is one of the “Seven Wonders of the World.” Excavations on this land have revealed the outstanding monuments of the Roman Imperial period. These include the Library of Celsus, the Great Theater and the House of the Virgin Mary.
Beside the city of Ephesus is the small Greek Hellenistic city, namely Aphrodisias. It is located in the historic Caria cultural region of western Anatolia.
City of Troy
Another ancient Greek city on the list is the city of Troy (Troia). The site reminds the famous Trojan Wars fought and recorded between 1260–1180 BC. The most magnificent city of the Asia Minor, Pergamon also inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.
The twin settlements of Xanthos-Letoon are a remarkable archaeological complex in the southwestern part of Anatolia. Firstly, Xanthos was the capital of ancient Lycia. It shows the unification of Lycian traditions with the Hellenic influence. Its art and artichecture had influenced others for decades. For example, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus shows direct influence of the Xanthos Nereid Monument.
On the other hand, Letoon was the religious center of Xanthos. It was also considered the ancient federal sanctuary of the Lycian province and Lycian League of Cities. Three temples dedicated to the Greek Leto, Artemis and Apollo were discovered in this region.
Other Major Remnants
Hierapolis was a Hellenistic spa town adjacent to white mineral landscape of Pamukkale (Cotton Palace). Build by Attalid kings of Pergamom, the site added up into the list in 1988.
Göbekli Tepe was an archaeological wonder, discovered by Klaus Schmidt. So it is located a few miles from the ancient city of Ur or Sanliurfa. Like the city of Letoon, is believed to be the world’s first religious or ritual site prior to the Stonehenge.
Diyarbakır, the unofficial capital of Northern Kurdistan, is home to the historical Diyarbakır fortress. The lustrous Hevsel Gardens are fertile lands between the Diyarbakır Fortress and the River Tigris.
Turkey; the Land of the Ancients
As mentioned above, UNESCO World Heritage Sites had also mentioned Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia within its list. The rock formations on the valleys and pinnacles of Cappadocia are known as “fairy chimneys” or hoodoos. This site had been extensively used and altered by man for centuries. It is one of the world’s most remarkable cave-dwelling valley.
With hundreds of rock-hewn cells, churches, troglodyte villages and subterranean cities within its rock formations. The Rock Sites of Cappadocia has examples of the post-iconoclastic Byzantine art period within its Christian sanctuaries.
Similarly, Hattusha is a noteworthy archaeological site for its urban organization. Its ruins lie near modern Boğazkale, Turkey. It had been the Hittite Capital in the Bronze Age. The ornamentation of the Lions’ Gate and the Royal Gate, and the display of art rock sanctuary at Yazilikaya have made it a prominent part of the heritage list.
Turan Malik, daughter of the Mengujekid ruler built the Great mosque of Divriği, along with the hospital (Darüşşifa). They became a part in UNESCO’s World Heritage List due to their exquisite carvings and architecture. In ancient Anatolia, both of the buildings belong to the most important works of architecture .
These cultural sites have played a prominent role in discovering the past of human civilization. Turkey is one of the most historically rich countries of the world.