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Gobekli Tepe

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Check out our ultimate guide to Gobekli Tepe, located in Şanlıurfa, Turkey.

Gobekli Tepe is a pre-historic archaeological site near Şanlıurfa, Turkey, that dates back to as early as 10,000 BC. These ancient ruins and the mystery surrounding them are getting more and more famous with the coverage from the Gobekli Tepe documentary “Gobeklitepe: The World’s First Temple” and the new Netflix series the Gift.

Gobekli Tepe was first discovered by German Archeologist Klaus Schmidt. The excavations started in 1995, and they’ve unearthed three layers so far. Layer I is the shallow first layer that has rubble from a vast time range. Beneath it, Layer II is older and from a more specific era, 9000-8000 BC. This layer has rectangular structures with T-shaped pillars in them. These pillars usually have animal carvings on them; their meaning and importance for the people of that time are unknown.

Layer III has a similar structure, circular rooms with T-shaped pillars inside, dating back to 10,000 BC this time. The similar qualities of the structures show that Gobekli Tepe was most likely used for the same purpose for several millenniums.

One of the mysterious aspects of Gobekli Tepe is the baffling structure of the rooms in both Layer II and Layer III. For some reason, the pillars were put inside the rooms, and then the rooms were filled with a rock inside, between the pillars. There are several theories about why this must have been done. One of them says it represents the connection between pillars. But mostly, it’s one of those things we can’t know for sure.

One other mystery of Gobekli Tepe is the sheer amount of work it required. Each pillar used weighs several tons. Moving and erecting these pillars require a serious amount of work, even with today’s modern machines. The amount of strain it would put on a stone-age society is unimaginable. But somehow they pulled it off, and there isn’t much more we can discover about it until new excavations shine more light on it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gobekli Tepe

What Is Gobekli Tepe?

Gobekli Tepe is an ancient archeological site, important for its 12,000 years of history and preservation.

Where Is Gobekli Tepe?

Gobekli Tepe is 15 km from Sanlı Urfa, a southeastern city in Turkey.

Who Built Gobekli Tepe?

Gobekli Tepe’s builders remain a mystery, but they are thought to be some of the last of the hunter-gatherer societies and they had a strong enough hierarchical system to overcome the difficult task of building Gobekli Tepe.

How Old Is Gobekli Tepe?

Gobekli Tepe is 12,000 years old, an archeological site from Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Period (c. 9600-7300 BC) category.

When Was Gobekli Tepe Discovered?

Gobekli Tepe was discovered in 1995 by Klaus Schmidt.

How was Gobekli Tepe discovered?

Even though it was mentioned in scientific articles, Gobekli Tepe was mostly looked over until 1994, when Klaus Schmidt read studies about Gobekli Tepe and decided to make an excavation. In 1995, Schmidt started to excavate and soon after realized the importance and significance of Gobekli Tepe, along with the rest of the world. It was also quickly understood that these structures were not for communal use but for ritualistic, religious reasons.

How many temples are there in Gobekli Tepe?

As of today, 6 temples have been excavated in Gobekli Tepe. It’s been established with geomagnetic tests that there are at least 20 more structures that are thought to be temples.

What is significant about the discovery of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey?

The discovery of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey changed the way pre-historical times are viewed. Before the excavation of Gobekli Tepe, scientists thought that pre-historical people only built temple structures after they started farming. The thought was that not until this time did people actually have enough comfort and hierarchy in their society to focus on religious building. The hunter-gatherer society that built Gobekli Tepe shows that hierarchy and other certain standards were already there to build a complicated structure before farming societies started.

What TV Show is about Gobekli Tepe?

A recent Netflix original series called the Gift takes place in Gobekli Tepe.

Things Near Gobekli Tepe

Şanlıurfa Archaeology and Mosaic Museum Cave of Abraham Balıklıgöl Harran Ruins Adıyaman Archaeological Museum Mount Nemrut Zeugma Belkis Ancient City Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Ziya Gökalp Museum Malatya Museum Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı Museum Diyarbakır Museum