Göbeklitepe, a UNESCO-protected archaeological site in Turkey’s southeastern Şanlıurfa province, has welcomed around 2,000 visitors in the first week of Turkey’s post-coronavirus normalization process.
“Dubbed the ground zero of history,” the 12,000-year-old site, which is visited by a large number of local and foreign tourists every year, experienced a golden age in tourism last year after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared 2019 “The Year of Göbeklitepe.” In 2019, the site experienced a significant boost in interest, breaking all records with 412,378 visitors.
Göbeklitepe was closed to visits for about three months following the coronavirus outbreak, yet remained the most visited historical site online throughout the pandemic thanks to a virtual museum application introduced by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The site itself has since begun to welcome guests in accordance with the rules of observing mask-wearing, social distancing and hygiene as per the normalization process that began in Turkey on June 1.
In just the first 10 days since the end of the hiatus was announced, already around 2,000 people have visited Göbeklitepe, in a hopeful sign for the future of local tourism. Tourism enterprises based around the site, which became a tourism favorite after “The Year of Göbeklitepe,” are happy to be able to serve visitors again.