National Geographic featured Gobekli Tepe on the cover of its June, 2011.  As soon as I saw the images of this ancient site, I knew I wanted to visit it.  I got an opportunity this June when I took a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, and subsequently flew there for a one day visit.  Gobekli Tepe is in the southwest portion of Turkey - just 30 miles from the border of Syria, and centered directly between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.  The ancient site is the earliest temple found to date; built some 12,000 years ago.  It is some 8,000 years older than Stonehenge. 


Its discovery changed the way that archeologist view the development of mankind.  Before Gobekli Tepe it was believed that villages and farms formed first before religion.  But there were no farming or village ruins found around this ancient temple.  There were only the bones of animals from sacrifices and the massive hunts undertaken to feed the spiritual pilgrims who paid visit to the site.  Bottom line:  Religious ritual led to farming & villages, not the other way around (i.e., previously it was believed that farming and villages came first, followed by the formation of religion used to promote social cooperation).  National Geographic summed it all up with amazement in their article: “Discovering that hunter-gatherers had constructed Gobekli Tepe was like finding that someone had built a 747 in a basement with an x-acto knife.” (National Geographic, June 2011, p. 49)

 

Visiting the Spiritual Birthplace of Mankind

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