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Visit the World’s Oldest Temple in Turkey


Whilst Stonehenge is a genuine ancient monument at around 5000 years of age, compared with the 12,000-year-old temple of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, it is positively new. Göbekli Tepe, which translates as Pot Belly Hill, is an extraordinary structure which contains many 16-ton pillars that were crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools.

The archaeological site is located in the south-eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 12km north-east of the city of Şanlıurfa. The tell (mound) has a height of 15m, is about 300m in diameter, and is approximately 760m above sea level. The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery; it was excavated by a German archaeological team under the direction of Klaus Schmidt from 1996 until his death in 2014.

Schmidt believed that the site was a sanctuary where people from a wide region periodically congregated, not a settlement.

The site is visited on a number of Travel The Unknown’s small group trips, (max. 12 people), including the 11-day Archaeology of Eastern Turkey trip which departs on 7 April and 14 September. Other highlights include the statue-heads at Nemrut Daği (Mount Nemrut), a chance to wander the ingenious roof-top streets of Çatalhöyük (the world’s first city), the abandoned underground cities of Cappadocia and a journey to Harran, the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham.

The trip costs from £3095 pp (two sharing) – a reduction of £200 off the usual price – which includes flights, all transportation, activities as per itinerary, 10 nights’ B&B (plus two dinners) and drivers/guides. The holiday can also be booked ‘land only’ for those who prefer to make their own way to join the group.

For more information, call 020 7183 6371 or visit:


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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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