A UNESCO-listed ancient site in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa hailed as the world’s oldest temple has been added to a respected world travel list.
“Built about 11,600 years ago, the monumental limestone pillars at Göbeklitepe, or Potbelly Hill, have been hiding in plain sight for millennia. Excavation of the megaliths only began in the mid-1990s,” said the magazine on the website introducing its Best Trips list.
“The archaeological site is located in southeastern Turkey, at the northern edge of the Fertile Crescent region that nurtured early civilizations. What has been revealed – primarily circles and rectangles of massive stones decorated with bas-reliefs of boars, foxes, and gazelles – comprise the world’s oldest known temple complex,” it added.
The Turkish government announced 2019 as the “Year of Göbeklitepe” in a bid to promote the UNESCO World Heritage site, which is much older than Stonehenge in England and the Egyptian pyramids.
Göbeklitepe was discovered in 1963 when researchers from Istanbul and Chicago universities were working at the site.
The puzzle of the Stone Age temples is yet to be solved by archaeologists and historians. Each T-shaped pillar varies between 40 and 60 tons, leaving archaeologists scratching their heads as to how people of that age accomplished such a monumental feat.
The Best Trips list also included the region of Asturias in Spain, Guizhou Province in China, the Maya Biosphere Reserve in northern Guatemala, the temples at the Abu Simbel in Egypt and Mendoza Province in Argentina.
Quebec, Tasmania and Philadelphia were also recommended to get the most of nature, adventure and city life.