Gobeklitepe, Where Humanity’s Story Began

Gobeklitepe was built twelve thousand years ago while humanity was still living in the stone age. Well, but by whom and why? Can we call say Gobeklitepe, Where Humanity’s Story Began? These well-cut stones do not seem to belong to this world. Considering these were the times when humanity has not yet met the writing, pottery, and wheel, building a temple like this was like a 3-year-old boy Eiffel Tower with his Lego bricks.

Something extraordinary happened 12 thousand years ago. Agriculture helped us to settle down, develop religious teachings and build temples. Now we had time to think and leave monuments for our future offsprings. The first civilizations of the world were established 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia, where human beings first settled. Local people believe in the holiness of this region and they are not wrong.

Discovery of Gobeklitepe

Archaeologist Klaus Schmidt discovered Gobeklitepe in 1995. What discovered was a series of huge stone pillars and strange carvings on them. The width of the field was 300 meters by 300 meters. The archeology team managed to bring out four huge stone circles of enormous size. Each circle consisted of high stone walls separated by large T-shaped columns. In the middle, there were two obelisks with a height of 5.5 meters. No such structure has ever been encountered until today. It was obvious that these obelisks were not made for daily use. Professor Schmidt thinks that the structures on the Göbekli Tepe are unlike any other settlement found in Turkey or anywhere else. Perhaps the secret of their purpose of construction lies in stunning figures carved on stone pillars.

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Animal reliefs, standing on sewn stones, act as guards. The signs on them show that they are not just ordinary sewn stones in fact, that T-shaped symbols are humans. According to experts, these figures are not from this world. They come from spiritual life. They look like people, but they are not human. Perhaps, they are the first gods depicted in human history.

Unbelievable Age of Gobeklitepe

This temple has been here for 11,500 years. Göbekli Tepe is a much more complex structure than Stonehenge, and it is 6000 years older than it, and 7000 years older than the Egyptian pyramids. Thousands of years before the construction of Göbekli Tepe, people believed that animals, plants, stones and everything had a soul. Man was only a small part of nature. In the caves you see figures of nature, but man was a small part of nature. The human figure is almost nonexistent. Humans were weak against nature. Man became stronger and started to rule animals and plants with the agricultural communities started appearing. We should observe Gobeklitepe with this in mind. These columns in the middle show a different mindset.

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Mankind had now dominated nature. The wild animals pictured under the head of this anthropomorphic figure highlight the feeling that humans are superior to all. Now, we are not incapable of nature like in cave paintings actually We dominated it! We believe feasts may have been organized here. They needed a lot of food when feasts were organized so they should have started looking for a permanent food supply. This led to the power of hunting and gathering to control nature as well as to the rise of food production. Professor Schmidt’s theory is radical. He claims If these settled hunter-gatherers started their agricultural life only to meet the needs of the temple, it means that the stone age ended entirely for religious reasons. Religion has a tremendous impact on human psychology. It made us believe that we are superior to animals and other natural elements. Perhaps it was the formation of this mindset that allowed the domestication of animals and plants.

Gobeklitepe’s Location

Sanliurfa city is 15 kilometers away to Gobeklitepe and Sanliurfa has an impressive history. It is believed that Hz. Abraham, the common prophet of the 3 great religions, was born here 4000 years ago. During archeological excavations tools made of flint were found in Sanliurfa. This proves that there is a settlement dating back to 11 thousand years in the region. According to experts, this proves that there was a settlement here during the construction of Göbekli Tepe. They built the first components of the temple on the bedrock. The two large standing stones in the middle were placed in nests 10 cm deep. These stones, formed by carving rocks from a single piece which was 5.5 meters high and weighed about 16 tons. Making these huge stone columns required great skill and craftsmanship. Lifting these huge stones is an interesting process. This process is like rowing on land. The levers under the column act as a shovel, when it pulls the other end of the lever towards itself, it acts as a shovel and the column moves forward. At least 50 men were required to carry this size of stones.

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If these circular rooms symbolize the door that opens to the underground. Gobeklitepe should be related to the phenomenon of death in one way or another. Creatures carved into columns play a major role in the creation of this dark realm. There are very surprising findings on the radar scannings. What we understand is, there are 16 more buried structures under the hill. Different communities came together and they combined their strength and mastery to put masterwork on the religion they believed in. In this group, the masonry, the builder from one group, the carving master from another. And they are building a temple. Such a big project forced people to work together and trust each other. Experts understand that Göbeklitepen has turned the known human history upside down. Hunter and gatherer communities evolved and the cultural revolution took place before the agricultural revolution. Gobekli Tepe says ‘’It is worship that prepares the ground for the formation of civilizations’’. Gobeklitepe was buried underground when it was discovered. There are several theories about it. As I suggest local people started building their own shrines after a while, perhaps they were tired of climbing the big temple on top of the hill every time. And Göbekli Tepe started to lose its old reputation. In a way, it became a victim of his own success. It would be agriculture that shaped our new way of life. In this case, it would be inevitable for Göbekli Tepe to be buried deep in history.

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Today it is a privilege to see Gobeklitepe. I personally believe Gobeklitepe excavations will change the world’s history completely. Actually to tell the truth they already might have done it. A tour to Gobeklitepe is an act of self-exploration, not just a simple daily fun trip. You will have a chance to look at the roots of our very own humanity and beliefs. You can always write to me if you want to learn more about Gobeklitepe. Also, you can contact me if you need to book a tour or a private professional licensed tour guide to Gobeklitepe. See you soon at the zero point of history, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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