Gobekli tepe: the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Temple

gobekli tepe safe visit older the oldest sanliurfa

Hello, fellow adventurers! Today, I take you on a journey back in time, to a site that is altering our understanding of human history – Gobekli Tepe (GÖBEKLİ TEPE in Turkish)(Potbelly Hill in English).

What is the Mystery of Gobekli Tepe?

Photo of an archaeological site showcasing the ancient Göbekli Tepe. Visible are large, rounded limestone pillars, some standing upright with intricate carvings, and others lying horizontally amidst rubble. The pillars are supported by modern wooden braces, emphasizing the ongoing preservation efforts. The surrounding area is filled with smaller rocks and pebbles, with a backdrop of a partially excavated hillside, hinting at the extensive history still buried.

Gobekli Tepe, translating to “Potbelly Hill” in Turkish, has intrigued archaeologists since its discovery in the 1960s. It’s a vast complex of massive stone pillars arranged in circles. The mystery lies in the fact that this site predates settled human life.

The image shows a person holding a book or pamphlet about Göbekli Tepe. The cover has a photograph of the archaeological site from a high vantage point, with excavated areas and uncovered structures. Above the photo, the text in Turkish proclaims Göbekli Tepe as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in human history. The logo of "müzedenal" is visible at the bottom, indicating the publication or distributor. There are barcodes and QR codes, likely for purchase or additional information retrieval.

It challenges the conventional timeline of human civilization, pushing back the advent of monumental architecture and organized ‘religion’ thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

gobekli tepe map

Is Gobekli Tepe Older Than Egypt?


Gobekli Tepe is indeed older than Ancient Egypt. The site dates back to around 9600 to 7300 BC, which makes it nearly twice as old as Egypt’s pyramids.

Was Gobekli Tepe Buried on Purpose?

Aerial view of a Göbekli Tepe excavation site. Multiple T-shaped megalithic pillars, some erect and others fallen, are organized in circular and square formations. The pillars exhibit various degrees of preservation, with some showing detailed bas-reliefs. Wooden supports and ropes are in place around some pillars, indicating active archaeological work. The site is covered by a large protective canopy, with visitors visible on a walkway at the perimeter, showcasing the scale and the public interest in this ancient site.

Göbekli Tepe was intentionally buried around 8200 BC for reasons still unknown. Some archaeologists speculate that this might have been done to preserve the site for future generations.

Is There Anything Older than Gobekli Tepe?

Overhead view of an excavation area at Göbekli Tepe. The focus is on a cluster of large, T-shaped stone pillars, some upright and others lying flat on the ground, arranged in a seemingly deliberate pattern. There is evidence of careful excavation with visible sections of unearthed walls and floors, composed of smaller stones. The excavation site is framed by a metal walkway, with a portion of the protective shelter visible, hinting at the ongoing preservation and study of this prehistoric site

Göbekli Tepe is currently the oldest known monumental religious site.

There are older human settlements, but none display the same level of complexity and sophistication in terms of architecture and symbolism.

Detailed view of a section within the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site. Central to the image is a large, T-shaped stone pillar, standing prominently with smaller supporting pillars around it. The surrounding area is a complex of dry-stone walls and scattered limestone fragments, suggesting intricate construction techniques of the prehistoric builders. The excavation reveals multiple layers of stonework, some forming benches or platforms, indicating a purposeful architectural design. The earth-toned colors of the site blend with the materials, highlighting the age and authenticity of this ancient structure.

Could Gobekli Tepe Be the Garden of Eden?

Close-up of a tall, T-shaped pillar at Göbekli Tepe, supported by a modern wooden frame for stabilization. The limestone pillar features a simple relief carving of an animal near its base, hinting at the symbolic or cultural significance it may have held. The background reveals a part of the excavation site with multiple layers of ancient stone walls and other similar pillars in various states, some upright and others toppled over. The image captures the intersection of past and present, with contemporary methods preserving the legacy of ancient craftsmanship.

Some speculate that Göbekli Tepe’s lush location, coupled with its age and the significant human effort in its creation, aligns with biblical descriptions of the Garden of Eden.

Elevated view of a circular enclosure at Göbekli Tepe, featuring a collection of monolithic T-shaped pillars. The central pillars are larger and more pronounced, surrounded by smaller ones, some of which are broken and scattered. The enclosure is defined by carefully constructed dry-stone walls, and the ground is littered with stone fragments. Ropes and metal poles appear throughout, suggesting ongoing excavation and restoration work. The image captures the ancient site's architectural complexity and the meticulous efforts to uncover and preserve it.

However, this remains a theory, and the actual location of Eden—if it indeed existed—remains a mystery.

Where is the Garden of Eden Found on Earth?

 Image showing a part of the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site viewed from an elevated walkway. Numerous ancient, T-shaped pillars, some standing and others fallen, are organized throughout the site. The pillars are surrounded by the remains of stone walls and floors, indicative of an advanced level of societal development for the time. Protective wooden structures support some pillars. Visitors can be seen on the walkway above, giving a sense of scale to the ancient temple complex below. The preservation efforts and ongoing archaeological activities are evident.

The location of the Garden of Eden, as described in the Bible, is a topic of much debate and speculation. Some locate it in Iraq, others in Armenia, while some theories point to Göbekli Tepe. However, there is no archaeological evidence to conclusively prove any of these theories.

Overlooking view of an excavation site at Göbekli Tepe from the edge of a walkway. The photo captures an array of ancient, T-shaped stone pillars—some upright with supporting braces, others toppled over—amidst the remnants of prehistoric architectural structures made of piled stones. The site is a puzzle of archaeological significance, with each pillar and stone possibly holding clues to the temple complex's function and the civilization that built it. The protective shelter and excavation tools suggest the active preservation and study of this site.

What Was the Connection Between Gobekli Tepe and Religion?

gobekli tepe 3d

Göbekli Tepe is considered by many as the world’s first temple, and its carvings suggest it was a place of ritual importance.

Bird's eye view of Göbekli Tepe's archaeological site showing a circular arrangement of ancient megalithic pillars. The central pillars are more prominent, surrounded by walls and enclosures made of piled stones. The image highlights the site's excavation progress, with some areas more refined and others still containing rubble and debris. Metal walkways for observers to view the site without disturbing the archaeological work are visible, framing the edges of the image and offering a modern contrast to the ancient structures.

The intricate carvings of animals and symbols might indicate a form of prehistoric animistic belief, suggesting an early form of religious practice.

How Much Older is Göbekli Tepe Than the Pyramids?

Gobekli Tepe predates the Egyptian Pyramids by over 6,000 years. The oldest pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, dates back to 2667-2648 BC, whereas Göbekli Tepe is believed to have been constructed around 9600 BC.

Wide-angle view of the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site. The photo shows a complex of unearthed T-shaped pillars of varying sizes, some upright and others fallen, amidst an array of ancient stone walls and floors. The excavation site is expansive with visible sections still under excavation, suggesting a grand scale of past human activity. Above, a modern canopy stretches across the site, while a metal walkway with visitors offers a glimpse into the ongoing interaction between the past and present. The image encapsulates the site's historical significance and the continuous efforts to preserve it.

Is Gobekli Tepe Safe to Visit?

Yes, Göbekli Tepe is safe to visit. It’s located in southeastern Turkey, near the city of Sanlıurfa. As always, it’s recommended to stay updated on travel advisories and take standard travel precautions. You may want to read Sanliurfa Travel Blog 2023.

Close-up view of a tall, T-shaped megalithic pillar at Göbekli Tepe with a detailed bas-relief carving of multiple figures, which could depict animals or abstract symbols. The pillar stands firmly, with smaller stones and rubble at its base, indicative of the ongoing excavation process. Surrounding stonework and other pillars in various states of preservation are also visible, contributing to the sense of historical depth at this ancient site. The image captures the intricacy of the animal carvings and the significance of these pillars to the site's archaeology.

Was Göbekli Tepe Built Before the Ice Age?

Göbekli Tepe was built after the last Ice Age during the Neolithic period, a time when humans began transitioning from a nomadic hunting-gathering lifestyle to settled farming.

Detailed image of a T-shaped pillar at Göbekli Tepe with an intricate relief carving of a creature, possibly a boar or other animal, near the base. The pillar's smooth surface contrasts with the rough texture of the surrounding limestone rubble and smaller wall fragments. This particular pillar is a testament to the advanced artistry and symbolism of the prehistoric people who created the site, reflecting their capacity for complex expression and perhaps spiritual or ritualistic practices.

Who Inhabited Gobekli Tepe?

The exact identity of the people who built Göbekli Tepe remains unknown. They were likely prehistoric hunter-gatherers, who had not yet developed settled agriculture.

A close-up view of a large, rectangular limestone pillar at Göbekli Tepe, featuring a bas-relief carving of a reptile-like creature etched into the stone. The pillar, with its flat top and broad sides, stands out against the backdrop of smaller, rough-hewn stone blocks that appear to be part of an ancient wall. The carving is subtle yet visible, suggesting the significance of such depictions in the cultural or religious practices of the people who created it. The surrounding stones and earth provide context to the site's ancient and excavated nature.

Visiting Göbekli Tepe is a journey to the dawn of civilization, a testament to the creative and spiritual capacity of our early ancestors. It’s an experience that leaves you pondering over the mysteries of human history, and the untold stories that lie beneath our feet.

For more travel blogs and historical facts, Click!

New sculptures have been discovered at Göbekli Tepe and Karahantepe!

New sculptures have been discovered at Göbekli Tepe and Karahan tepe. Göbekli Tepe, often referred to as the “zero point of history” due to its 12,000-year-old history, has yielded its first painted sculpture, while Karahantepe has revealed the most realistic human sculpture to date.

In the ongoing excavation work in Sanliurfa, full-sized sculptures of a wild boar and a human have been discovered at Gobekli Tepe and Karahantepe.

animal statue in gobekli tepe

In the Karahantepe excavation, one of the realistic human sculptures of the period has come to light. Standing at a height of 2.3 meters and featuring a lifelike facial expression, this sculpture is an exemplary piece of prehistoric art.

According to an announcement by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as part of the Stone Hills project in 2023, various human and animal sculptures have been unearthed in 9 archaeological sites during excavation work.

newly discovered human statue in Gobeklitepe

New Discovery in Gobekli Tepe

During the excavations, a life-sized wild boar sculpture made of limestone was found in Structure D of Gobekli Tepe. The boar sculpture exhibiting remnants of red, white, and black pigments on its surface, holds the distinction of being the first painted sculpture to have survived from that era to the present day.

newly discovered statue in karahantepe

The wild boar sculpture from Gobekli Tepe was uncovered on a platform believed to be decorated with symbols such as an ‘H’ shape, a crescent, two snakes, and three human faces or masks.

In the excavation work carried out at Karahantepe, one of the realistic human sculptures of the period was revealed. This sculpture, standing at 230 cm in height, is an exceptional example of prehistoric art with its realistic facial expression.

The image is a split view. On the left, there's a close-up of a T-shaped megalithic pillar from Göbekli Tepe with a bas-relief carving of a creature, possibly a fox, near its base. On the right is an illustration of an indigenous person, labeled as a "great medicine man of Central Australia," with traditional body paint or tattoos. The juxtaposition suggests a comparison or link between ancient carvings and indigenous cultural practices.

The sculpture was found fixed to the ground within a niche. In the area where the seated sculpture with prominent rib, spinal, and shoulder bones reminiscent of a deceased human was discovered. There were also vulture sculptures mounted on the wall and stone plates placed on the ground.

You May Also Like
sedir island
Read More

Sedir Island

Marmaris Sedir Island The altitude of the Sedir Island (Adası) ruin is nearly between 0 meters and 15…