April 2020 in Turkish archaeology

April 2020 was another quiet month in the archaeological world, but some important discoveries were made and published, anyway. Possibly the biggest one was made by Israeli archaeologists found a hidden pattern at Göbekli Tepe - an equilateral triangle, underlying the entire architectural plan of the complex. Moreover, five new entries of the sites from Turkey were made into UNESCO Tentative List, for better or worse, as it has been demonstrated in our publication. Meanwhile, one of the most precious historical heritage sites in the country - Hasankeyf - continued to disappear under the waters of Tigris River. The archaeologist went literally underground in Safranbolu and Kayseri where underground tunnels and rooms had been found. Finally, a rather sensational discovery was made in the Ottoman archives, revealing the evidence of the first person ever killed by a meteorite.

Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe

Çukurçeşme Han in Istanbul

Wandering through the old districts of Istanbul, you can easily see how rich and multi-layered is the history of this city, the former capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This is evidenced not only by the most magnificent and well-known buildings but also by those less apparent, often hidden in a tangle of narrow streets. One of them is the building of the old bazaar, now known as Taşhan i.e. the Stone Inn. We stumbled across it accidentally, wandering from Yenikapi station towards Şehzade Mosque. Our attention was caught by a stone building, the entrance of which was visible at the end of the alley turning off Gençtürk Street. Soon, we found out that it was worth getting off the main route because Taşhan is not only an extremely photogenic place but also the one with a fascinating history and hiding a great secret.

Çukurçeşme Han in Istanbul
Çukurçeşme Han in Istanbul

Visiting Turkish museums and archaeological sites from your couch

As the travel plans of so many of us collapsed with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the only possible way to visit the archaeological sites and museums is to go online and check which collections have already been digitised. In the case of Turkey, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism established Sanal Muze website that offers a 3D experience of some of the best-known state-run archaeological and ethnographic museums. The downside of this project is the fact that even though the museums offer descriptions of the exhibits, they are only available in Turkish at the moment.

Mosaic in Zeugma Museum in Gaziantep
Mosaic in Zeugma Museum in Gaziantep

The peculiar case of Turkey's enormous UNESCO Tentative List

On April 14, 2020, five sites of historical importance located in the area of Turkey were added to the UNESCO Tentative List, extending it to 83 positions. These new additions include a small historical town of Central Anatolia, a huge port city of the Aegean coast, a beautiful valley in Kayseri Province, a neo-Hittite site in Southern Anatolia, and Roman-era fortifications situated in the south-eastern part of the country. Moreover, two castles on the Aegean coast were added to the previously registered list of fortresses and trading stations on the Genoese trade routes. We have provided an overview of these sites in a separate article. This is a varied and well-balanced collection of the places of enormous significance for the history of the region.

Reconstructed Temple of Athena, Bayraklı Höyüğü, Izmir
Reconstructed Temple of Athena, Bayraklı Höyüğü, Izmir

5 more cultural assets from Turkey added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List

Sculpture from Karatepe-Arslantaş archaeological site
Sculpture from Karatepe-Arslantaş archaeological site

Five new historical places located in Turkey were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Tentative List on April the 14th of 2020, increasing the number of objects on this list to 83. The five new places are: historical town of Beypazarı in Ankara Province, the historical harbour city of Izmir on the Aegean coast, Karatepe-Arslantaş archaeological site in Osmaniye Province, Koramaz Valley in Kayseri Province, and the Zerzevan Castle and Mithraeum in Diyarbakır Province. Moreover, the list of Fortifications on Genoese Trade Routes from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, first registered in 2013 was extended by the addition of two places: Çeşme Fortress and Güvercinada Fortress in Kuşadası.

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