Göbekli Tepe: Birthplace of religion & 12000 years old temple

Gobekli Tepe
Image Source: Spot Blue

What if I tell you the exact location of the place where religion took birth? A place believed to be the 1st temple in the history of human existence, Göbekli Tepe hosts 20 thousand visitors every week.

Göbekli Tepe is a vast archeologist site in Şanlıurfa city of the South-Eastern Anatolia in Turkey. The birthplace of early human civilization, Göbekli Tepe welcomes more than 2 million visitors every year as one of the main attraction spots in Turkey. In the year 2018, UNESCO declared Göbekli Tepe as a ‘World heritage site’.

Let’s explore this amazing site which is still waiting to be discovered!!

What is Göbekli Tepe?

Göbekli Tepe is among the very few earliest examples of man-made prehistoric monuments with large stones. The remains found at Göbekli Tepe are considered as the dawn of civilization in the Neolithic age. The Neolithic age is also called the ‘New stone age’, during which humans used tools, weapons out of stones. 

During the Neolithic age, Göbekli Tepe is believed to be the center of faith and a pilgrimage site. The Neolithic collection of stone circles is considered the oldest man-made temple. It predates the ‘Stoneage’ that’s 12 thousand years and the ‘Pyramids’ that’s 65 hundred years old civilization. Thus, it’s counted as a wonder that we can hold in Turkey.

According to a study the deeper buried stones must be even older and expected to be around 14 thousand years old. Astonishingly, archeologists have discovered only a small part of the structure out of the gigantic one at Göbekli Tepe. The structures are dated back from the 11th and 12th millennia BCE.

According to the study, the most important and basic methods of architectural planning were invented in the late Epipaleolithic period, a part of the Natufian culture, and through the early Neolithic period at Göbekli Tepe. 

There is no evidence of farming and animals during the time the structure was built at the location of Göbekli Tepe. Hence, it’s assumed that the hunters’ groups had made it. 

What does the archeologist site at Göbekli Tepe indicate?

As soon as the archeologists got the hand of the discovery at Göbekli Tepe, they got an answer to how the human race settled into an organized society. 

Before the finding at Göbekli Tepe archeologists believed, the prehistoric man settled from hunting and gathering to make farming lifestyle, domesticating animals, and to grow crops. With spare time and energy, the man was able to build many things like communities, colonies, temples, and many more things.

After the discovery in the year 1995 at Göbekli Tepe, it was clear that the particular structure was built before the man decided to settle. The idea to build such a temple was to motivate the large group to settle. Therefore, the structure of Göbekli Tepe isn’t the result of the human colony but it was to create it.  

Some archeologists believe that the T shape structure is the 1st known monumental description of gods. Others believed the site of Göbekli Tepe might be home to a ‘Skull cult’.

Many archeologists believe that funeral rituals were performed at Göbekli Tepe because it was considered a temple.

Many archeologists also agree that Adam and Eve (the 1st man & woman according to the Bible) settled at Göbekli Tepe after God banished them from the Garden of Eden. Göbekli Tepe is proven to be the place where wheat was cultivated for the 1st time. According to the Bible, Adam was the one who cultivated the wheat after the banishment.   

What did archeologists find at Göbekli Tepe?        

The architectural beauty at Göbekli Tepe is highly unusual and is one to marvel at. The stone structure assumed to be made 12 thousand years ago is a legendary finding in the archeology field.

It’s amazing because the man during the Stone Age with limited tools made this enormous structure at Göbekli Tepe. It clearly shows the skills of people of that time as they were able to carve images on stone. They completed this structure 6 thousand years before writing was invented. Doesn’t that shock you?   

Göbekli Tepe, an archeologist site has a collection of the man-made stone circles used as a place to worship made with stone tools. The circle at Göbekli Tepe has ‘T’ shaped pillars facing each other in the center and these are surrounded by a circle of smaller pillars. The walls are connecting these pillars. The excavation team has found out only 4 circles out of 20 in total.

The largest structure is 20m in diameter and few researchers used a computer algorithm to understand what architectural design processes man used during the construction of the round monumental structure at Göbekli Tepe. They found out that the structure is in geometry and the whole structure of limestone was planned as a single structure.

Now according to the history of the revolution, man found such a formula of geometry after building the structure. This is an example of cultural change during the early Neolithic period. They found out the use of a rectangular shape on the site. This research also concluded that during this period the makers used abstract design rules and organizational patterns at Göbekli Tepe.

The largest pillar weighs approximately more than 16 tons and is 5.5 meters tall. Many pillars have complicated carved sculptures of animals and humans at Göbekli Tepe. Animals like Scorpions, foxes, gazelles, snakes, wild boars, and wild ducks are carved on the monument. The archeologists have still not figured out the meaning of these sculptures.

Imagine, all this construction at Göbekli Tepe is older than pottery invention!! Yet, there is a lot to discover which will take ample time.

What does the Şanlıurfa museum offer us to see?

To understand the groundbreaking discovery of Göbekli Tepe, you must visit the Şanlıurfa museum. What can you find inside? Well, enough to give a gist of Göbekli Tepe. Many have suggested visiting the museum before going to Göbekli Tepe.

  • You will find a large collection of artifacts from Göbekli Tepe and the surrounding areas that date around the same time.
  • Many carved stone structures and a lot of tools exposing the kind of tools neolithic man used.
  • The prize possession is Urfa man, the oldest full-size stone sculpture of a man in the world that’s 11 thousand years old and was found at the site of Göbekli Tepe.
  • There is a lot of explanation and information on the life of people 12thousand years ago.
  • Many stones are recreated and kept inside the museum so that visitors can have a detailed close look. Such a thing won’t be possible at the site of Göbekli Tepe because you will have to look at it from a distance. 

How to reach Göbekli Tepe?

The Sanliurfa city council has arranged buses that leave thrice a day to and from Sanliurfa to reach Göbekli Tepe.

  • Daily 3 flights come to the Şanlıurfa airport that makes it accessible to Göbekli Tepe.
  • Buses are the main and best transport option in Turkey that connects big cities.

On the brighter side, Turkey is trying to boost this tourism spot slowly and gradually, which was difficult due to critical international situations.  


The major reason for Göbekli Tepe not being one of the topmost tourist spots is because the area is often filled with chaos and it requires efforts to reach there. But the day archeologist discovered Göbekli Tepe, it was one of the biggest things to appreciate about mankind. 

At Secret Temples, you will learn about many temples and religions.


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