UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey

Posted: November 27, 2014    Categories:

As of 2016, there are 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey. The newest addition into the list is the Archaeological Site of Ani, which was inscribed by UNESCO into the list in 2016.

  • Archaeological Site of Ani (2016)
  • Archaeological Site of Troy (1998)
  • Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire (2014)
  • City of Safranbolu (1994)
  • Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape (2015)
  • Ephesus (2015)
  • Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia (1985)
  • Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi (1985)
  • Hattusha: the Hittite Capital (1986)
  • Hierapolis-Pamukkale (1988)
  • Historic Areas of Istanbul (1985)
  • Nemrut Dağ (1987)
  • Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük (2012)
  • Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (2014)
  • Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex (2011)
  • Xanthos-Letoon (1988)

Archaeological Site of Ani (2016)

This site, the latest to be inscribed to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey, is located on a secluded plateau near the Armenian border. It is a medieval city that features military and religious structures. It took several centuries to build this medieval city yet until today it exudes that medieval urbanism it had when it flourished in the 11 century CE. It also served as an important crossroad for merchant caravans. The ruins of military and religious structures all over this archaeological site exhibit the evolution of medieval architecture in the region.

Archaeological Site of Troy (1998)

The city of Troy has had over 4,000 years in history to its name. Hence, it is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In the late 1800s, the first excavation was done on this site and extensive remains were unearthed as a result of that. These evidences also serve as proof that there were contact between the Mediterranean world and Anatolia civilization during that time.

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

This serial property includes the City of Bursa and nearby village of Cumalıkızık. This site exhibits how the Ottoman Empire established its power in the early 14th century. Within the site, you will find commercial districts, mosques, public baths, kitchen for the poor, tombs, religious schools, and more.

City of Safranbolu (1994)

This city served as an important caravan station for merchants involved in the East-West trade route during the 13th century until the 20th century. Several structures were built in the city during the 14th century that became important monuments to the city such as the Suleyman Pasha Medrese, Old Bath and the Old Mosque. The architecture in Safranbolu also influenced the urban development as part of the Ottoman Empire’s rule.

Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape (2015)

The fortified city of Diyarbakır belongs to the so-called Fertile Crescent. This landscape served as an important Hellenistic period center from the Roman times up to the present. The site includes the Inner Castle and a 5.8-kilometer long city wall equipped with gates, buttresses and numerous towers. Other important monument within the site is the Hevsel Gardens. It was responsible for supplying the city with food and water.

Ephesus (2015)

This ancient city was built in the 10th century BC. It was part of the 12 cities of the Ionian League but flourished under the Roman Empire. The city is best known for the Temple of Artemis, which was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Library of Celsius is another important monument in Ephesus. The city was destroyed in 263 but underwent rebuilding process until it was destroyed once again by an earthquake in 614 AD. It was recently inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey.

Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia (1985)

This spectacular landscape in Nevsehir Province was actually formed from a natural process called erosion. The Goreme Valley and the rock-hewn sanctuaries around it are some of the best examples of Byzantine art and post-Iconoclastic period. Within the site, you will find troglodyte villages, underground towns, and dwellings. The evidence of human settlement in the area were dated back to the 4th century.

Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi (1985)

The Great Mosque was founded in the 13th century along with the adjoining hospital. The sophisticated technique of vault construction within the mosque and the decorative sculpture combine to showcase one of the best masterpieces in Islamic architecture. Hence, this mosque and its adjoining hospital were named World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

Hattusha: the Hittite Capital (1986)

This is another archaeological site in this list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey. It is best recognized for its urban organization and the preserved structures that include temples, forts and royal residences. The rock art at Yazilikaya is another important monument belonging to this site. The city flourished during the 2nd millennium BC.

Hierapolis-Pamukkale (1988)

This site features a unique landscape consisting of petrified waterfalls, terraced basins and mineral forests. During the 2nd century BC, the thermal spa of Hierapolis was established with the help of the dynasty of Attalids. To this day, the ruins of this thermal spa and bath, along with temples and Greek monuments are still standing.

Historic Areas of Istanbul (1985)

UNESCO Sites in Turkey

In the present day, Istanbul is considered as one of the most important cities in the world. It is linked with the religious, political and artistic industry for over 2,000 years. There are several architectural and cultural masterpieces located within the city of Istanbul, particularly its historic center. These sites include Hagia Sophia (built in the 6th century), Suleymaniye Mosque and the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine. Due to the rise in population and industrial population, the preservation of these sites is now under serious threat. Hence, listing the historic center as a World Heritage Site is one step towards helping in its preservation.

Nemrut Dağ(1987)

This mountain in the Adiyaman Province of Turkey is notable for having numerous statues erected on the way to its summit. Many believe that these statues are actually royal tombs that were established during the 1st century BC. The name, however, was much recent and it was given during the Middle Ages. The statues that were erected on the mountain were “beheaded” and the missing parts of the statues have not been recovered.

Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük (2012)

This site consists of two hills along the Southern Anatolian Plateau. The taller of the two mounds feature various evidence of Neolithic occupation such as sculptures, wall paintings, and reliefs that depict symbolic images. Meanwhile, the other mound (located on the western side) showcases the evolution of Chalcolithic period. The site features a unique form of settlement that was streetless and clustered next to each other.

Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (2014)

Located within the Aegean region of Turkey, this cultural landscape is home to the acropolis of Pergamon. In addition, there are also several important monuments belonging to the site including theaters, monumental temples, gymnasium, library, altar, and porticoes. All of these monuments are set on a sloped terrain.

Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex (2011)

This square mosque dominates the skyline of Edirne, which was once the capital of the Ottoman Empire. It features a single dome and four slender minarets. Sinan was responsible for designing this mosque, which he believes is his best work yet. Considering that Sinan is the most famous Ottoman architect, it speaks volumes about the architectural masterpiece which is the Selimiye Mosque. The mosque complex, which consists of a covered market, courtyard, library and clock house, is considered as the most harmonious expression of the Ottoman kulliye (a group of buildings managed as one institution).

Xanthos-Letoon (1988)

The site of Xantos-Letoon, which was inscribed into the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey, is the best example of the fusion of Hellenic and Lycian influence in funerary art. As one of the most important civilizations in the Iron Age in Anatolia, the architectural example of Lycian tradition in the site is considered culturally significant. The carvings on the rock and stone pillars collected on the site were also evaluated to better understand the history of the culture of the Lycian civilization.