Turkey’s rich culture has been recognised at the latest UNESCO World Heritage Session, after the country was granted two new World Heritage Sites bringing its total number to 13.
The first new Site in Turkey is the Birth of the Ottoman Empire at Bursa and Cumalıkızık in the southern Marmara Region. The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system, which helped established the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th Century. Cumalıkızık is a village outside the historic centre of Bursa, the only rural village of this system to show the provision of hinterland support for the capital.
Turkey’s second new World Heritage Site is Pergamon and its multi-layered cultural landscape, which rises high above the Bakirçay Plain in Turkey’s Aegean region. The acropolis of Pergamon was the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid Dynasty, a major centre of learning in the ancient world. Monumental temples, theatres, stoa or porticos, a gymnasium, altar and library were set into the sloping terrain surrounded by an extensive city wall.
The rock-cut Kybele Sanctuary lies to the north-west on another hill visually linked to the acropolis. Later the city became capital of the Roman province of Asia known for its Asclepieion healing centre. The acropolis crowns a landscape containing burial mounds and remains of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires in and around the modern town of Bergama on the lower slopes.
Other World Heritage Sites in Turkey include the Goreme National Park, where the rock formations of Cappadocia have been transformed into unusual homes, and the Historic Areas of Istanbul, a city that mixes cutting edge new development with exotic culture and history.