Gobekli Tepe: The Oldest Temple on Earth?



Image: © Berthold Steinhilber

Eleven thousand years ago, men with no modern tools or other help set to work building a set of megaliths in Southeastern Turkey. Six thousand years before Stonehenge was built, these massive stones were carved into shapes with elaborate designs. Carved with sweat, rock and imagination, it is believed to be the world’s first temple by archaeologist Klaus Schmidt.


Image: Zunkir

The layout of stones, known as Gobekli Tepe, consists of rings with two tall pillars in the center. These aren’t small pillars; they stand 16 feet tall, with a ring of smaller pillars pointing inwards around the two center ones. They are carved with images of a variety of animals, including foxes, scorpions, vultures and lions – animals that likely made their home in the green valley that existed below the hillside at the time. The location is at the tip of the Fertile Crescent, an area the prehistoric people of the era came to from Africa.

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