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UNESCO Adds Site in Turkey to World Heritage List


The UNESCO World Heritage List got a little bit longer this month, with the addition of the 11th site in Turkey to make it to this geographic all-star team. The 34-acre Neolithic Site at Çatalhöyük (don’t ask us to pronounce it), located in the Konya province on the Southern Anatolian Plateau of Turkey, bears evidence of several series of human occupation dating back to 7,400 BC and spanning more than 2,000 years.

Comprised of two hills, the site is rife with early human artifacts. The eastern hill site reveals wall paintings, reliefs, sculptures ,and other works. On its website, UNESCO indicated the importance of these works in the human cultural narrative:

"…they testify to the evolution of social organization and cultural practices as humans adapted to a sedentary life."

Well, relatively sedentary (You’re reading this from your office chair, aren’t you?).

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The western hill shows evidence of a street-less settlement of houses and demonstrates human cultural evolution from settlements to cities.

To be inscripted, or in night club terms, make the list, sites have to be of "outstanding universal value" and meet at least one of ten criteria outlined by the organization. In the case of Çatalhöyük, the site met criteria II and IV, that is, it showed an "important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design," and it is an "outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history." Congratulations to the artists and skilled laborers of Çatalhöyük!

To date, the list includes nearly 1,000 sites. Other destinations and sites to make the list in 2012 include four archeological sites in Lenggong Valley in Malaysia, Gonbad-e Qabus in Iran, the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth, Germany, and Rabat, Morocco, among others. To see the full list and criteria, visit

Photo credits: Courtesy of CatalHoyuk/Flickr

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