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Welcome to 9 UNESCO Heritage sites in Turkey 1 novembre 2007

Posted by Acturca in Art-Culture, History / Histoire, Istanbul, Turkey / Turquie.
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Korea Times

October 28, 2007 Sunday

As it is a historically and culturally wealthy country bearing a full range of heritages, Turkey is bringing out a « Tourism strategy of Turkey 2023 » with their tremendous ambition. Turkey is the only country that has nine kinds of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites.

The Cappadocian region is a place where nature and history come together with the most beautiful scenery in the world.

While geographic events formed peribacalari (fairy chimneys) during the historical period, humans used the signs of thousand-years-old civilizations by carving houses and churches within these earth pillars and decorating them with friezes.

Traditional Cappadocian houses and dovecotes carved into the stone show the uniqueness of the region. These houses are constructed at the foot of the mountain using rocks or cut stone.

Rock, which is the only construction material of the region, as it is very soft after quarrying due to the structure, can be easily processed but after contact with air it hardens and turns into a very strong construction material.

Due to being plentiful and easy to process, regional unique masonry is developed and turned into an architectural tradition. Materials of neither courtyard nor house door are wood. Upper parts of the doors built with arches are decorated with stylized ivy or rosette motifs.

Dovecotes within the region are small structures constructed within 18th century and end of 19th century. Some of the dovecotes, which are important in showing Islamic art are constructed on monasteries or churches. Surfaces of dovecotes are decorated with rich inscriptions and adornments by regional artists.

Pamukkale was formed when a spring with a high content of dissolved calcium bicarbonate cascaded over the edge of the cliff, which cooled and hardened leaving calcium deposits.

This formed into natural pools, shelves and ridges, which tourists could plunge and splash in the warm water.

Hotels were springing up from the 1970s to cater for the large influx of tourists, and shortly afterwards UNESCO declared it a World Heritage site.

But by the 1990s, this took its toll on the state of the calcium pools and restrictions were placed on these travertine terraces. Many hotels were knocked down, visitors are only allowed on major paths around the sites, and must remove footwear to stand on the calcium deposits.

This seems to have been a successful move, as the water supply is now used for preservation and some of the damaged calcium deposits have been reinforced.

At the junction of the East and West civilizations, Nemrut Dagi (Mount Nemrut) is one of the most astounding sites in Turkey: A collection of colossal statues on a remote mountain 2,150m high, adorning the temple and tomb of King Antiochus.

Unknown until 1881 when an Ottoman geologist discovered these 10 meter-high stone heads, archaeological work began in 1953 to uncover their history.

Nemrut Dagi has since been a significant attraction, with thousands sunrise and sunset visitors to see the stones in the best possible light.

In addition to the statues, the entire site includes art from the Commagene civilization, the Eskikale (Old Castle), Yenikale (New Castle), Karakus Hill and Cendere Bridge. Most people use the nearby towns of Malatya, Kahta or Adiyaman as a base, and the road to the summit is only open from mid-April to mid-October because of heavy snow the rest of the year.

Safranbolu is a town boasting a glorious collection of old Ottoman houses, with a rich collection of pieces of art, which represents traditional Turkish life and culture. Its rich history and success in preserving it earned the town an inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The best known for its old Turkish houses, the town is attracting more attention especially as these 19th century homes are gradually disappearing from other areas of Turkey.

It is also known as the Capital City of Preservation, acknowledging its ability to hold onto not only pieces of art, but also the atmosphere.

Previously known as Paphlagonia, Safranbolu took its name from saffron and has hosted many different civilizations in its history including Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans. It was conquered by the Turks in 1196.

The town reached its economic and cultural peak during the Ottoman Empire, partly because its position as an important stop on the Istanbul to Sinop trade route in the 17th century improved the commerce and wealth of the region.

During this period, it had close relations with Istanbul and Kastamonu, and state officials from the Ottoman Palace had important pieces of art in Safranbolu. The wealthy inhabitants of the town built large houses made from wood and stucco, many of which still survive. During the 19th century, nearly 25 percent of the population were Ottoman Greeks, who left after World War I.

The god and human, nature and art are together in there, they have created such a perfect place that it is valuable to see. Lamartine’s famous poetic line reveals his love for Istanbul, describing the embracing of two continents, with one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe.

Istanbul, once known as the capital of capital cities, has many unique features. It is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, and the only one to have been a capital during two consecutive empires _ Christian and Islamic.

Once was capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul still remains the commercial, historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, and its beauty lies in its ability to embrace its contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here.

Its variety is one of Istanbul’s greatest attractions: The ancient mosques, palaces, museums and bazaars reflect its diverse history.

The thriving shopping area of Taksim buzzes with life and entertainment. And the serene beauty of the Bosphorus, Princes Islands and parks bring a touch of peace to the otherwise chaotic metropolis. 6. Xanthos and Letoon

Letoon, a cult center of ancient Lycia, is located four kilometers from the ancient city of Xanthos on the western bank of Een Cayi (ancient Xanthos river). The history of Letoon is inextricably bound with that of the city of Xanthos.

Excavations at Xanthos have been in progress since 1950, carried out by a French team originally under the direction of Henri Metzger and later Christian le Roy. Pottery unearthed at Letoon can be dated to the late 8th or early 7th centuries B.C. There have been no traces of any finds later than the 7th century A.D.

Within the sacred precinct, three temples have been found. The largest (measuring 30.25 by 15.75 meters) is located on the west.

The structure has a deep pronaos (front porch) and a false opisthodomos (rear porch). An inscription found in the cella (main chamber) indicates the temple was dedicated to Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo.

The Apollo temple on the eastern side of the precinct is in the Doric order and in a rather poor state of preservation. It is somewhat smaller than the Leto temple, measuring 27.90 by 15.07 meters.

It too is in the peripteros style and has six by eleven columns. It was built during the Hellenistic period. The temple has a deep pronaos and opisthodomos and within the cella there is a mosaic in which Artemis’s bow and quiver and Apollo’s lyre are depicted.

In the vicinity of the temple was found an inscription of great importance whose text is repeated in Greek, Lycian, and Aramaic. The inscription is from the reign of Artaxerxes III and is dated to June of 358 B.C. It makes reference to one Basileos, the legendary founder of Kaunos. This inscription has played a vital role in the deciphering of the Lycian language.

On the southwestern side of the terrace on which these three temples are located is a lovely monumental fountain called a nymphaeum. This semi-circular portico contains a basin measuring 27 meters in diameter. Inscriptions found in situ indicated that the fountain was built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138).

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.

Troy (Asia Minor), also Ilium (ancient Ilion), famous city of Greek legend, on the northwestern corner of Asia Minor, in present-day Turkey.

The legendary founder of the city was Ilus, the son of Tros, from whom the name Troy was derived. The son and successor of Ilus was Laomedon, who was slain by the hero Hercules, when Hercules captured the city. It was during the reign of Laomedon’s son Priam that the famous Trojan War occurred, which resulted in the capture and destruction of the city.

The Troy that appears in the Homeric poems was long regarded as a purely legendary city.

But in 1870, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann began excavations that unearthed the actual stone walls and battlements of an ancient city on the mound called Hissarlik (Place of Fortresses), about 6.5km from the Aegean Sea and equidistant from the Dardanelles. Schliemann’s excavations were continued after his death by his assistant, Wilhelm Dorpfeld, whose work in 1893 and 1894 threw new and important light on Schliemann’s discoveries.

Between 1932 and 1938, new excavations were carried on at the site by the University of Cincinnati, under the direction of the American archaeologist Carl Blegen.

Schliemann discovered the first five settlements and identified Troy II with the Homeric Troy. Dorpfeld’s discoveries, confirmed by Blegen, proved that the Homeric Troy must be identified with Troy VIIA, which was destroyed by fire about the traditional date of the Trojan War.

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.

In the rock sanctuary of Yazilikaya, near Bogazkale, is a remarkable series of reliefs cut into rock. The reliefs depict two long processions of gods and goddesses advancing toward each other.

The majority of the gods remain unidentified, but the two deities heading the procession are the storm god, or weather god, and the sun goddess, the chief deities worshiped by the Hittites. Excavations at the sanctuary revealed a temple built in front of one chamber; the other, smaller chamber seems to have been devoted to the cult of a deceased king.

Hittites (Hebrew Hittim), was an ancient people of Asia Minor and the Middle East, inhabiting the land of Hatti on the central plateau of what is now Anatolia, Turkey, and some areas of northern Syria.

The Hittites, whose origin is unknown, spoke an Indo-European language. They invaded the region, which became known as Hatti, about 1900 B.C. and imposed their language, culture, and rule on the earlier inhabitants, a people speaking a non-Indo-European agglutinative language. The first town settled by the Hittites was Nesa, near present-day Kayseri, Turkey.

Shortly after 1800 B.C, they conquered the town of Hattusas, near the site of present-day Bogazkale.

Nothing more is known of Hittite history until, in the 17th century B.C., the so-called Old Hittite Kingdom was founded by the Hittite leader Labarna (reigned about 1680-1650 B.C.), or Tabarna, and Hattusas became its capital. Labarna conquered nearly all of central Anatolia and extended his rule to the sea.

It is an Ottoman monument. Great Mosque was constructed as a wooden mosque between 1381 and 1389 by Yildirim Beyazit and completed in 1411 during the period of Mehmet Celebi I. Restoreted by Mimar Sinan during the period of Kanuni, Great Mosque’s present building was constructed by amli Hamdi Paa and completed in 1893 by Ahmet Fuat Paa.

There is a holy pulpit sat on four marble columns and also one fountain in the middle part of the mosque. The top and the side parts of that dome are separated by a partition for women and men. It has also got two domes, six semi domes and five regions for the last congregations.

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.


1. Sinop - 28 mai 2009

Was a very nice article. I love reading. I recommend to my other friends. Preparation of health in the hands.

2. David - 7 juin 2008

It is not absolutely true that Turkey is the only country that has nine kinds of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. The Czech Republic has 12 World Cultural Heritage sites and next 10 are on pending list! This country is very small and Turkey cannot compete with it!

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