The World’s First Temple: Göbeklitepe

Approximately 18 kilometers from Şanlıurfa is an archaeological site that may very well change the story of history. Set near Örencik Village, Göbeklitepe was first mentioned in 1963, in a joint survey conducted by the Universities of Istanbul and Chicago. Further exploration of the site revealed some incredible details.

Göbeklitepe Highlights

Constructed approximately 12,000 years ago, the structure of Göbeklitepe features about 20 rounded and oval structures in a diameter of 30 meters. Two T-shaped limestone columns are five meters high and weigh around 40 tons: it is still unknown how these were erected and placed, given what we know about the simple hand tools used in the hunter-gatherer era.

There are smaller columns around the structure, as well as carvings of animal figures.  

5 Intriguing Facts About Göbeklitepe

  • In Spain, the Taulas of Menorca is considered similar to Göbeklitepe, but the artistic perception of the patterns and totems in Göbeklitepe are stronger. As well, the Spanish structure dates from 500 B.C., approximately 9000 years after Göbeklitepe!
  • Some posit that Göbeklitepe is a region associated with the lost continent of Atlantis and Mu. According to this theory, when Atlantis was submerged and that civilization disappeared, Göbeklitepe was covered with soil and hidden.
  • Many of the animals, including the lion, depicted on the Göbeklitepe obelisks are not found in the region, at least not in modern times…
  • According to research, wheat made its first appearance in this region. It is possible that Göbeklitepe, as a structure around which people lived, drove the beginning of settled human civilization.
  • Although the first studies on Göbeklitepe were conducted in 1965, the credit for the discovery belongs in part to a farmer who has nothing to do with archeology. Mahmut Kılıç discovered a historical artifact while plowing his field in 1983 and donated it to the museum, thus reviving interest in the region and in the excavations, which were restarted under the consultancy of Prof. Dr. Klaus Schmidt in 1995. Dr. Schmidt devoted the rest of his life to studying Göbeklitepe, moving to Şanlıurfa with his wife and dying there.

Göbeklitepe indicates that the history of these lands is beyond ancient. To visit this site is an introduction to the many mysteries of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.


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