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World’s oldest temple takes thoroughly modern approach to tourism



Gobekli Tepe, a recently excavated temple site in Turkey, is set to become a model for sensitive tourism development with the help of the Global Heritage Fund.

Predating the Great Pyramids, Stonehenge and the invention of written language, Gobekli Tepe is the oldest temple site in the world. With excavations advanced enough for visitor numbers to increase, GHF has stepped in to help ensure that development is done in a gradual and environmentally sustainable way that is beneficial to local communities.

New hotels have been constructed in and around Sanliurfa and one of Turkey’s best-yet archaeology museums is due to open very soon. A permanent shelter is in planning this year to replace the temporary structure, a project that will be executed in full and exclusively by local workforce who live in the region and understand the site’s history, its’ vulnerabilities and terrain characteristics.

While an international team is guiding them, the local workforce is the engine here; one of the young men there will become the first from his village to ever attend university. He creates a very real profile of how heritage economics impacts human capacity and has the ability to diversify economies and encourage rural transformation.



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