The UNESCO list of World Heritage places has 11 locations from Turkey. In 1994, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee launched the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List. Its aim is to ensure that the World Heritage List reflects the world’s cultural and natural diversity of outstanding universal value. Eleven properties in Turkey have been listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Two of these properties are listed as mixed (Natural & Cultural) Heritage, the rest as cultural only.
- UNESCO’s Natural and Cultural Heritage properties in Turkey
- Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia
- UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage properties in Turkey
- Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği
- Historic Areas of Istanbul
- Hattusha: the Hittite Capital
- Nemrut Dağ
- City of Safranbolu
- Archaeological Site of Troy
- Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex
- Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük
Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia
In a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period. Dwellings, troglodyte villages and underground towns – the remains of a traditional human habitat dating back to the 4th century – can also be seen there.
Hattusha: the Hittite Capital
The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, is notable for its urban organization, the types of construction that have been preserved (temples, royal residences, fortifications), the rich ornamentation of the Lions’ Gate and the Royal Gate, and the ensemble of rock art at Yazilikaya. The city enjoyed considerable influence in Anatolia and northern Syria in the 2nd millennium B.C.
The mausoleum of Antiochus I (69–34 B.C.), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander’s empire, is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. The syncretism of its pantheon, and the lineage of its kings, which can be traced back through two sets of legends, Greek and Persian, is evidence of the dual origin of this kingdom’s culture.
Hierapolis and Pamukkale
Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (Cotton Palace) an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.
Xanthos and Letoon
This site, which was the capital of Lycia, illustrates the blending of Lycian traditions and Hellenic influence, especially in its funerary art. The epigraphic inscriptions are crucial for our understanding of the history of the Lycian people and their Indo-European language.
City of Safranbolu
From the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East–West trade route. The Old Mosque, Old Bath and Süleyman Pasha Medrese were built in 1322. During its apogee in the 17th century, Safranbolu’s architecture influenced urban development throughout much of the Ottoman Empire.
Archaeological Site of Troy
Troy, with its 4,000 years of history, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The first excavations at the site were undertaken by the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. In scientific terms, its extensive remains are the most significant demonstration of the first contact between the civilizations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean world. Moreover, the siege of Troy by Spartan and Achaean warriors from Greece in the 13th or 12th century B.C., immortalized by Homer in the Iliad, has inspired great creative artists throughout the world ever since.
Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex
The square Mosque with its single great dome and four slender minarets, dominates the skyline of the former Ottoman capital of Edirne. Sinan, the most famous of Ottoman architects in the 16th century, considered the complex, which includes madrasas (Islamic schools), a covered market, clock house, outer courtyard and library, to be his best work. The interior decoration using Iznik tiles from the peak period of their production testifies to an art form that remains unsurpassed in this material. The complex is considered to be the most harmonious expression ever achieved of the Ottoman külliye, a group of buildings constructed around a mosque and managed as a single institution.
Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük
Two hills form the 37 ha site on the Southern Anatolian Plateau. The taller eastern mound contains eighteen levels of Neolithic occupation between 7400 bc and 6200 bc, including wall paintings, reliefs, sculptures and other symbolic and artistic features. Together they testify to the evolution of social organization and cultural practices as humans adapted to a sedentary life. The western mound shows the evolution of cultural practices in the Chalcolithic period, from 6200 bc to 5200 bc. Çatalhöyük provides important evidence of the transition from settled villages to urban agglomeration, which was maintained in the same location for over 2,000 years. It features a unique streetless settlement of houses clustered back to back with roof access into the buildings.
Historic Areas of Istanbul
With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces include the ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, the 6th-century Hagia Sophia and the 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque, all now under threat from population pressure, industrial pollution and uncontrolled urbanization.
Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği
This region of Anatolia was conquered by the Turks at the beginning of the 11th century. In 1228–29 Emir Ahmet Shah founded a mosque, with its adjoining hospital, at Divrigi. The mosque has a single prayer room and is crowned by two cupolas. The highly sophisticated technique of vault construction, and a creative, exuberant type of decorative sculpture – particularly on the three doorways, in contrast to the unadorned walls of the interior – are the unique features of this masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
TurkeyVision created a tour that visits all of UNESCO’s World Heritage properties in Turkey, with the ones that are also on the Tentative list.
Starting from Ankara, the tour visits the following places: Safranbolu, Amasya, Hattusa, Cappadocia, Sivas, Divrigi, Mount Nemrut, Gobeklitepe, Harran, Zeugma, Antioch, Tarsus, Catalhoyuk, Konya, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, Sagalassos, Antalya, Xanthos, Fethiye, Caunos, Ephesus, Sardis, Pergamum, Assos, Troy, Edirne, and ends in Istanbul
UNESCO World Heritage tentative list of Turkey
- Aizanoi Antique City (included in the TurkeyVision’s UNESCO World Heritage Tour of Turkey)
- Alahan Monastery
- Ancient Cities of Lycian Civilization
- Archaeological Site of Aphrodisias
- Archaeological Site of Perge (included in the TurkeyVision’s UNESCO World Heritage Tour of Turkey)
- Archaeological Site of Sagalassos
- Archeological Site of Zeugma (included in the TurkeyVision’s UNESCO World Heritage Tour of Turkey)
- Bergama (included in the TurkeyVision’s UNESCO World Heritage Tour of Turkey)
- Bursa and Cumalikizik Early Ottoman urban and rural settlements
- Ephesus (included in the TurkeyVision’s UNESCO World Heritage Tour of Turkey)
- Esrefoglu Mosque
- Güllük Dagi-Termessos National Park
- Haci Bektas Veli Complex
- Harran and Sanliurfa
- Hatay, St. Pierre Church
- Historic City of Ani
- Historic Town of Birgi
- Historical Monuments of Niğde
- Ishak Pasha Palace
- Karain Cave
- Kekova (included in the TurkeyVision’s UNESCO World Heritage Tour of Turkey)
- Konya-A capital of Seljuk Civilization (included in the TurkeyVision’s UNESCO World Heritage Tour of Turkey)
- Mamure Castle
- Mardin Cultural Landscape
- Mausoleum and Sacred area of Hecatomnus
- Medieval City of Beçin
- Odunpazari Historical Urban Site
- Seljuk Caravanserais on the route from Denizli to Dogubeyazit
- St. Nicholas Church
- St.Paul Church, St.Paul’s Well and surrounding historic quarters
- Sümela Monastery (The Monastery of Virgin Mary)
- The Archaeological Site of Göbeklitepe
- The Citadel and the Walls of Diyarbakir
- The Tombstones of Ahlat the Urartian and Ottoman citadel
- Yesemek Quarry and Sculpture Workshop