Turkey is one of the famous tourist destinations in the world. Most of the tourist visit the place to see famous Istanbul and Ephesus. But very few people know that Turkey is also home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Thirteen of these sites are cultural sites. It is one of the largest numbers of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey

April 17, 2019

Turkey is one of the famous tourist destinations in the world. Most of the tourist visit the place to see famous Istanbul and Ephesus. But very few people know that Turkey is also home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Thirteen of these sites are cultural sites. It is one of the largest numbers of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey.

1 | Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire (2014)

Ottoman built the first major capital in Bursa famously known as Hüdavendigar. It was built between 1335 and 1363 and is located in the southern Marmara region. The site reflects the amalgamation of an urban and rural system in the Ottoman Empire. The area includes the mosque, schools, public, baths and many other landmarks. UNESCO World Heritage has categorized 8 sites in the area of which seven are in Bursa and one is Cumalıkızık.

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2 | Ephesus (2015)

The ancient city of Ephesus in one of the most visited destinations in Turkey. It dates back to the 10th century and has been inhabited by empires like Neolithic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Selçuk and Ottoman period. It also has Roman Imperial buildings like the  Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. The temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the World”. It is also famous for House of the Virgin Mary and a chapel. Each year many pilgrims visit the place from all around the world.

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 3 | Hattusha: the Hittite Capital (1986)

Hattusha was the capital of Hittite in the late Bronze age. The site is designated as the archaeological site due to the urban organization, temples, fortification and rock art at Yazilikaya Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire, an ancient Anatolian people, in the late Bronze Age. The archaeological site is designated as UNESCO World Heritage mainly due to its remarkable urban organisation, the temples, royal residence, fortifications, and the ensemble of rock art at Yazilikaya (a separate site close to Hattusa).

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4 | Historic Areas of Istanbul (1985)

Istanbul has always been a magical city and this magic goes back to the 6th century when Hippodrome of Constantine built Hagia Sophia. The city has been the hub of the political centre and has been ruled from the Byzantine to Ottomans. The historic areas of Istanbul have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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5 | Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (2014)

Pergamon was one of the most important cities of Hellenistic dynasty. The city dates back to 133 BC and excavation has shown that it has been governed by Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The UNESCO has listed 9 locations in this area with one of the steepest surviving Roman Theater and the site of Acropolis being a major highlight.

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6 | Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük (2012)

Çatalhöyük was one of the large Neolithic dating back to 7500 BC-5700 BC. It has wall paintings, sculptures, tools, burial chambers and many other features located on two mounds. It gives a reflection of urban and villages from that period of time.

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7 | City of Safranbolu (1994)

It is a typical Old Ottoman city with well-preserved buildings. The city of Safranbolu is located on the important East-West trade route. The city of Safranbolu played an important part in connecting the Ottoman Empire and Europe. There are traditional 2000 Safranbolu houses making the best example of Turkish architect. UNESCO has listed three districts of Safranbolu,  Kıranköy, and the Vineyards of Bağlar. The old mosque, baths and famous Süleyman Pasha Medrese date back to the 13th century.

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Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape

The place is another great cultural and historical linkage of Greco-Roman history. The city of Pergamon was ruled by Persians and Greeks in the Hellenistic period and served as the learning centre. It has theatres, a library and other structure located near the Aegean coast.

9|Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük

This place dates back to around 9000 BC and is accredited as the place of birth of agriculture. The excavation has helped in understanding the insights of the old civilization that lived in honeycomb arranged structures. It is located near Konya in the southern part of Turkey.

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10|Hattusha: The Hittite Capital

The place was established in 1180 BC where Hittites established their empire. It consisted of modern-day Turkey including some area of Mesopotamia and the Levant. The capital of this empire was Hattusha located near the Black Region. In the modern era, this area is known as Boğazkale in the Black Sea region. It was built on a rocky hillock with protective walls and carved stone gates. These Lion gates are well preserved and one of the UNESCO heritage.

11 | Aphrodisias (2017)

One of the recent addition is Aphrodisias located in southwestern Turkey near Morsynus River. It has two areas namely; the ancient ruins of Aphrodisias and the marble quarries of the old city. The temple and the city date back to the 3rd century. It is one of the best-preserved sites in Turkey.

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12 | Archaeological Site of Troy (1998)

The place has 4000 years of history connected with it. The world-famous archaeological site served as the site of the Trojan War. In 1870, Heinrich Schliemann excavated the region. The discovery served as the sign of the first contact between the civilization of Anatolia and Mediterranean. The place immortalized by Homer has inspired several artists across the world.

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13 | Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape (2015)

It is located on the upper Tigris River and is one of the important Fertile lands. The city is fortified and the area has served as an important area since the Hellenistic period, Romand, Byzantine and Ottoman. The place has an inner castle with numerous towers, gates and 63 inscriptions. It also has Hevsel Gardens that is a green patch between the city and fortress.

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14 | Archaeological Site of Ani (2016)

The place was once the capital of Bagratid Armenia, an independent state in 11 CE.  The city of Ani is a medieval settlement spreading across present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey. Ani was located on the trade route making it the commercial hub of the Silk Road. It also served as the chief seat to the bishop of the Armenian church. It had more than 1000 churches, religious buildings, palaces built using volcanic material. The famous citadel, churches, and the palace are UNESCO Heritage site. The city was majorly destroyed during the Mongol invasion followed by frequent earthquake activity.

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15 | Selimiye Mosque and Social Complex (2011)

The Mosque and its social complex are located in Edirne. It is a square mosque with one dome and four minarets and was built in Sultan Selim II by famous architect Minar Sinan. It was built in six years between 1569-1575. The complex has Islamic schools, clock house, outer courtyard and a library. It is one of the notable achievements of Minar Sinan and of Islamic architect.

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16 | Nemrut Dağ (1987)

Mausoleum of Antiochus built in 62 BC is located on one of the highest peaks in Turkey. Mount Nemrut is located in the south-west region of Turkey and has a height of 2,134 meters. Antiochus reigned over the kingdom of Commagene between 69-34 BC. The tomb is surrounded with huge statues of the king, eagles, lions and various Greek Gods from the Hellenistic period. This mausoleum is a unique artistic experience.

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17 | Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği (1985)

The Great Mosque and Hospital is the seventeen UNESCO site in Turkey. It was built in 1228 after Anatolia was captured by Turks in the 11th century. The mosque and the hospital are one of the amazing architectural masterpiece reflecting Islamic architect. It has a single prayer room with two cupolas. The decorative sculpture is in contrast to unadorned interior walls.

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Do You Want UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey?

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