Göbeklitepe, crowned the world’s oldest temple, has become a favorite destination of tourists in Turkey’s southeastern city of Şanlıurfa.
Göbeklitepe has been on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Tentative List since 2011. It was discovered in 1963 when researchers from the universities of Istanbul and Chicago were working at the site.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, the mayor of Sanliurfa metropolitan municipality, Zeynel Abidin Beyazgul, said: “Sanliurfa is a city of history, archeology and tourism. Gobeklitepe’s being on the UNESCO World Heritage List has contributed to Sanliurfa being one of the most well-known places in the world.”
He said Gobeklitepe is one of the destinations in Sanliurfa that domestic and foreign tourists want to explore the most.
“Sanliurfa will set new records in the coming period in terms of hosting domestic and foreign tourists,” he said.
Noting that the archeological site attracted more attention after it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List three years ago, Beyazgul said the number of visitors from abroad is increasing every year due to the mystery and secrets waiting to be solved at Gobeklitepe, which is described as a “zero point in time.”
“Şanlıurfa, which is almost an open-air museum, continues to be the attraction center for domestic and foreign tourists with its cuisine, cultural values and music as well as its ancient history,” he added.
Muslum Coban, the head of the Regional Tourist Guides Chamber in Sanliurfa, told Anadolu Agency that approximately 500,000 people visited Sanliurfa in the first nine months of this year.
“We predict that the number of visitors will reach millions very quickly after the [coronavirus] pandemic,” he said.