By Esber Ayaydin
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) – The inclusion of Gobeklitepe, the "world's oldest temple" in southeastern Sanliurfa province on UNESCO's World Heritage List has helped to attract more visitors.
Gobeklitepe was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2018.
Mayor Zeynel Abidin Beyazgul said the third anniversary of the inclusion on the list coincides with the date when coronavirus restrictions will be lifted, Wednesday, and the number of domestic and foreign visitors will continue to increase.
Sanliurfa, which recently attracted the attention of the whole world with its deep-rooted history, tourism diversity and potential, is a city of history, archeology, and tourism, said Beyazgul.
Expressing his satisfaction with rising interest in the region, Muslum Coban, the head of a regional chamber of tourist guides, said Gobeklitepe has become a hub for attraction. Now, many tourism agencies have started to come to Sanliurfa just for Gobeklitepe.
The famed ancient site was discovered in 1963 when researchers from Istanbul and Chicago universities were working at the site.
In joint work at the site since 1995, the German Archaeological Institute and Sanliurfa Museum found T-shaped obelisks from the Neolithic era towering three to six meters (10-20 feet) high and weighing 40-60 tons.
During excavations, diverse 12,000-year-old artifacts such as human statuettes 65 centimeters (26 inches) high were also unearthed.