The United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recently announced the new selections for World Heritage Sites in 2017. Located in Turkey, one of the new sites is the archaeological city of Aphrodisias which has originally been named according to the ancient goddess of love. The World Heritage Committee had its 41st meeting in Kraków on 9th–12th July 2017.

Located in Southwestern Turkey in the Anatolian region, the city of Aphrodisias was originally part of the ancient Roman Empire as it served as the capital of the Caria province. Currently, the archaeological site of Aphrodisias includes both the ruins of the ancient city and the marble quarry that lies northeast from the city centre. Preserved exceptionally well, the focal buildings of the city still include a theatre, agora, two bath complexes and the Temple of Aphrodite which originates from the 3rd century BC. Based on the findings of archaeological excavations, it has been estimated that the area was already inhabited during the Neolithic era.

According to UNESCO, Aphrodisias was selected among the World Heritage Sites due to its central role as a thriving city and the cult centre of the Goddess Aphrodite from the 2nd century BC to 7th century AD. Furthermore, the near marble quarry expedited the development of a local tradition in sculpting marble which eventually grew a reputation within the Mediterranean area. 

Turkey is full of historic wonders

Aphrodisias, Ephesos and many other historic destinations in Turkey continue to attract travellers interested in ancient life and culture. The most popular archaeological destination in Turkey, Ephesos, has millions of tourists visiting the site every year.

Altogether, Turkey has a total of 17 World Heritage Sites nominated by UNESCO. In addition to Aphrodisias (Aydın), the list includes Süleymaniye Mosque, Grand Bazaar and Hagia Sofia (all in Istanbul), the city of Safranbolu (Karabük), Hattusha: The Hittite Capital, the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği (Çorum), Archaeological site of Troy (Çanakkale), Archaeological site of Ani (Kars), Xanthos-Letoon (Muğla and Antalya), Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia (Nevşehir), Hierapolis-Pamukkale (Denizli), Nemrut Dağ (Mount Nemrut) (Adıyaman), Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (İzmir), Bursa and Cumalikizik (Bursa), the Neolithic site of Çatalhüyük (Konya), Ephesos (İzmir), Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens (Diyarbakır), and the Selimiye Mosque in Erdine.

In addition, there are currently 72 Turkish properties which are submitted on UNESCO’s Tentative List. For more information, please visit: http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/tr.