The ruins of Pergamon, as well as Bursa and Cumalıkızık, have entered the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in addition to the 11 previously listed sites in Turkey.
The World Heritage Committee inscribed 1,001 new sites to the list as UNESCO seeks to build intercultural understanding by protecting important historical sites.
Located near the Aegean coast, Pergamon is an Ancient Greek city with a multi-layered landscape constructed under the Attalid dynasty during the Hellenistic period. It later served as a capital city of the Roman Empire in Asia Minor for a brief period. Though some of the ruins remain in their original location, the famous Pergamon Altar is housed at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, erected in 1901. The site remains famous for its sacred Asclepieion healing center.
“Monumental temples, theatres, stoa or porticos, 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,” read a written statement released on the website of UNESCO on Sunday.
Another Turkish site that has been inscribed on the list, Bursa, serves as one of the foundations of the Ottoman Empire, though it was previously ruled by the Roman and Byzantine Empires. From 1335 to 1413, Bursa served as the first capital of the Ottoman state. There are several remaining monuments, including 127 mosques, 45 tombs, 34 medreses and 37 hamams -- all of which served as integral components of the social and economic foundations for the new capital. Cumalıkızık, located only 10 kilometers away from Bursa, is a rural location that has remained rich with history through the years.
These new entries will join the other Anatolian locations on the World Heritage Sites list like the ancient city of Troy, the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, Neolithic Çatalhöyük and others. “The property illustrates key functions of the social and economic organization of the new capital which evolved around a new civic centre. These include commercial districts of khans, kulliyes (religious institutions) integrating mosques, religious schools, public baths and a kitchen for the poor as well as the tomb of Orhan Ghazi, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. One component outside the historic centre of Bursa is the village of Cumalıkızık, the only rural village of this system to show the provision of hinterland support for the capital,” added the statement.
Welcoming the inscription of Turkish sites to the World Heritage List, President Abdullah Gül said the new additions in the list appreciate once more the richness of Turkey's historical heritage.
Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe described the addition of Bursa and Cumalıkızık as an opportunity to receive its share from cultural tourism, while the mayor of Bergama, Mehmet Gönenç, said Bergama will get the support it deserves from the government and improve itself more in 10 years after this addition.