Gobeklitepe Turkey History

Göbekli Tepe, the oldest sanctuary in the world. We can combine this trip with an extension to 2 days Cappadocia tour from Istanbul

Don’t expect the traveler to come across any orchard. Göbekli Tepe, in southern Turkey, is a wasteland in whose stomach is hidden one of the greatest enigmas that Archeology has had to face. Until its discovery, human civilizations were thought to be a relatively modern invention. The first cities would be Ur or Jericó in Palestine, with about 5,500 years old. Göbekli Tepe takes the traveler back to the dark age when man emerged from the ice age, until no less than 12,000 years ago.

At the end of the last ice age, humans had to face a radical change in their environment. Animals that traditionally tracked, hunted, and fed either became extinct or migrated to cooler areas. The planet gave way to a more moderate climate with higher temperatures that led to the proliferation of plants and other types of animals.

As a consequence, the primitive human being abandoned his nomadic life and took advantage of the opportunities offered by this new environment. This is how we discovered agriculture and livestock, two technologies that allowed the population to be fed more consistently and predictably than hunting and gathering.

The first thing that surprises when you walk through its hills is the large number of flint objects that are manufactured by Neolithic man. They are so many that archaeologists should literally sweep all the surrounding hills to obtain a part of them. This unequivocal proof that the human being lived in this site was 90,000 square meters long for millennia, around 9000-7500 BC; a man who knew neither the metal nor the wheel, but who used the stone with amazing precision.

Göbekli Tepe is in a sorry state if we think that we are facing the first temples built by humanity. The only guard of the place sleeps every day in the open arms hugging his shotgun and he alone has already had to face several looting attempts. As of today, hardly two of the 16 sanctuaries revealed by the georadar have been excavated. They are all circular. Its outer part is delimited by a wall made of carved rock. Inside there are 12 T-shaped stone blocks adorned with countless animal motifs. And in the central part two other T aligned from east to west.

No one doubts the religious value of the site. Everything in Göbekli Tepe is shamanic and it was religion that pushed its builders to make a titanic effort. The animals that decorate its pillars are very diverse. There are represented big cats of threatening jaws, spiders, scorpions, ducks, wild boars, bulls, vultures, jackals … And especially snakes. Some of them emerge from the earth but almost all point to the ground and the entrance to the underworld.

The upper part of the stone T presents tiny human-made oquedales where corpses could be deposited to be consumed by carrion birds, which is not far-fetched, as it is common practice in some ancient religions such as Mazdaism. The fact that the two central totems are aligned from east to west would symbolize the sunrise that means rebirth, and sunset, the entrance to the underworld. All these data support the hypotheses that the monument had a markedly funeral purpose. However, in Göbekli Tepe no tomb has appeared, which makes the place even more mysterious.

Göbekli Tepe is very old, yes, but not primitive. It seems that Göbekli Tepe was consecrated to death. It could also be a temple where human sacrifices were performed, very common in foreign religions. A tree and a serpent, as mentioned in Biblical Eden, the same reptile that caused the destruction of Eve and the same site are represented on a soapstone shovel of just five centimeters that appeared during the excavations.

Some historians are of the opinion that the discovery of Göbekli Tepe changes our understanding of the development of the Neolithic. Faced with the conventional thesis that the invention of agriculture led to a sedentary lifestyle, others believe that in the case of Göbekli Tepe the engine of change was religion. But not only that, but the prairies that surround Göbekli Tepe today were not, 12,000 years ago, when the construction of temples, the same wasteland that we see today. It was a tremendously fertile site where spelled abounded, a very nutritious type of wild wheat. There was an abundance of water. Activity at Göbekli Tepe ceased entirely around 7500 B.C.