By Esber Ayaydin
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) – Trip of British parliamentarians to the world’s oldest known temple in southeastern Turkey left them with fascination and admiration.
As guests of the Yunus Emre Institute that promotes Turkish culture around the world, the four British Conservative Party MPs visited Gobeklitepe — a UNESCO world heritage site. The trip was organized in collaboration with the Association of Turkish Speaking Health Professionals (ITSEB) in Britain.
Sheryll Murray expressed her admiration for the historic Gobeklitepe site.
“I think that this is a unique experience for anybody to come and see, and I would highly recommend it,” she said.
The parliamentarian also said she enjoyed a “very safe” trip.
“There was no problem with the security. I think we’ve been treated with the utmost respect.”
Among the traveling group was David Morris who recommended everybody visit the ancient city and support it which will pave the way for turning a new page in history.
David Amess of the group said the positive remarks of them for the trip will bring more British tourists to Turkey.
“By the time this delegation of parliamentarians return home to the U.K., everyone’s going to know about it. I can see this will be very popular tourist destination as long as the Turkish people wanted them,” said Amess.
In words supporting Murray, he highlighted the distinct characteristic of the historical site, saying, it is hard to find a place that would allow anyone to observe a 10,000-year-old history.
Mark Menzies of the trip group said lots of history enthusiasts in the U.K. will add Gobeklitepe as a destination to their travel plan.
The lawmaker said there are still undiscovered areas that will boost the bilateral trade.
Each parliamentarian stressed that they will advise all people to visit Gobeklitepe.
Gobeklitepe is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is recognized as the oldest temple in the world by many international organizations. It was discovered in 1963 by researchers from universities of Istanbul and Chicago. Since then, the excavations have never stopped.
The German Archaeological Institute and Sanliurfa Museum have been carrying out joint excavations at the site since 1995. They have found T-shaped obelisks from the Neolithic era towering some 3-6 meters (10-20 feet) high and weighing 40-60 tons.
During the excavations, diverse historical artifacts like a 65-centimeter-long (26-inch) human statue dating back 12,000 years have also been discovered.
* Writing by Gozde Bayar