Merhaba Wanderlusters! It’s time to embark on a fascinating journey through time to a place shrouded in mystery and wonder—Göbekli Tepe! Situated in southeastern Turkey, this ancient archaeological site holds in itself secrets of human history. 

Pronounced as “Guh-beck-lee Te-pay”, Göbekli Tepe isn’t just a destination for history fanatics; it’s also a playground for the inquisitive and the daring. So put on your walking shoes, get your magnifying glasses with you, and come with us on this escapade to unravel the enigmatic past and explore the thrilling activities that await you at this ancient land of mysteries. 

How To Reach Göbekli Tepe

  • By Air: First, hop on a plane to Turkey and make your way to the southeastern part of the country.  Touch down at the nearest airport, which is usually the Şanlıurfa GAP Airport. 
  • By Road: Once you’re at the Şanlıurfa GAP Airport, catch a taxi or arrange for a private transfer to take you on a scenic drive to Göbekli Tepe. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the Turkish landscapes passing by. Also, keep a good look out for signposts directing you to the archaeological site. 

Unraveling the Mysteries

Let’s dive headfirst into the mysterious mysteries that surround Göbekli Tepe. This prehistoric marvel which dates back over 11,000 years, even predates the construction of Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt. It’s like stepping into a time machine and witnessing humanity’s first steps towards organized society.

Archaeologists believe Göbekli Tepe was a monumental religious complex, serving as a gathering place for ancient communities. The site’s most interesting feature are the massive stone pillars adorned with intricate carvings of animals, creating a mesmerizing sight. These enigmatic monoliths stand tall, silently whispering tales from the forgotten past. Researchers speculate that they may have represented deities or served as markers for celestial events. Quite interesting right?

Activities for The Curious Adventurer in You 

Now that we’ve hooked you on the allure of Göbekli Tepe, let’s explore the exciting activities that await you in the mystical realm.

Archaeological Excavations 

Here you get to become an honorary archaeologist by joining an excavation team. Roll up your sleeves, grab a trowel, and unearth the mysteries buried beneath the earth’s surface. 

Guided Tours 

If you’re not the digging type and don’t like getting your hands dirty, there are guided tours available for you. Especially if you’re seeking a more relaxed adventure. Expert guides will regale you with captivating stories and theories, bringing the ancient stones of the structure to life. They’ll take you through the excavation sites, and will reveal intriguing details about the beliefs and practices of the ancient people. 

Interactive Workshops 

You can channel your inner artist and participate in workshops where you can create replicas of Göbekli Tepe’s intricate carvings. How fun does that sound? Learn the techniques used by ancient craftsmen and take home a unique memento, connecting you to the spirit of this extraordinary place.

göbekli tepe carvings
Stargazing in Turkey

Stargazing Nights 

Lie on a blanket under the expansive Turkish sky, and stare at the stars above Göbekli Tepe. As darkness descends, local astronomers can guide you through a celestial journey, explaining how ancient civilizations used the night sky to navigate and worship. Witness the wonders of the universe while surrounded by the echoes of the ancient past.

Traditional Cuisine 

No journey is ever complete without getting a taste of the local flavors. Taste the rich culinary heritage of the region with traditional Turkish dishes. And also savor mouthwatering kebabs, aromatic spices, and delightful baklava. 

Camping Adventures

If you’re up for a thrilling camping experience, spend a night under the stars in a campsite near the ancient site. Listen to ancient legends and folktales around a crackling fire as you bond with your fellow travelers. The ambiance will transport you back in time, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Top Things To Do in Göbekli Tepe

Before we dive headfirst into all the amazing things you can do at Göbekli Tepe, let’s set the atmosphere by understanding  the historical significance of Göbekli Tepe. 

The oldest known monumental architecture on Earth, it dates back over 11,000 years. Unbelievably so, it’s older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. Stacked with marvelously massive stone pillars, intricately carved with fascinating reliefs of animals, humans, and supernatural beings. Now that you have an idea about what Göbekli Tepe is, let’s get you started on the top things to do there.

Turkish ice cream
Turkish ice-cream

Learn How To Cook “Stone Age” Style

Now that you’ve stepped back in time, why not indulge your taste buds in some Stone Age flavors? If you’re into cooking, an old age cooking workshop is what you need. Learn how to prepare ancient recipes using traditional ingredients and techniques. Discover your inner caveman or cavewoman as you roast meat on an open fire, grind grains using primitive tools, and savor the unique flavors of the past. 

Capture the Perfect Neolithic Selfie 

All this effort shouldn’t go unnoticed. That’s why it’s time to update your Instagram game with a selfie that will make your followers’ jaws drop. Strike a pose against the breathtaking backdrop of Göbekli Tepe’s massive stone pillars. You can even dress up in a replica Neolithic attire, complete with animal furs, wooden accessories, and stone-age makeup. What else do you need to set your IG feed on fire? So, snap the most historically quirky selfie of your life. #NeolithicVibes #LivingHistory

Meditate in The Ancestral Peace 

All that IG usage calls for some relaxation time. With its serene ambiance and ancient energy, Göbekli Tepe offers the perfect setting for a mindful experience. Find a quiet spot amidst the stone pillars, close your eyes, and let the whispers of the past guide you on a journey of introspection.

Experience a Shamanic Workshop 

Embrace the spiritual side of Göbekli Tepe by participating in a shamanic workshop. In the workshop you’ll get to learn  about the ancient beliefs and practices of the people who once inhabited this sacred site. You can also engage in drumming, chanting, and guided meditations that will connect you to the spirit world. Allow the energy of the place to awaken your inner shaman and experience a transformational journey that bridges the gap between the past and present, leaving you in a transcendental state of mind.

Hike Through Prehistoric Landscapes

If you’ve had enough of the ancient ruins, you can take a break and explore the stunning natural landscapes surrounding Göbekli Tepe. Simply lace up your hiking boots and embark on a journey through time as you traverse rugged terrains and lush valleys and take in the breathtaking views. Quick tip: be observant of the wildlife and unique plant species.

Indulge in Local Delicacies

And of course, there’s local food. After a day of adventure, treat yourself to the flavors of modern-day southeastern Turkey. Savor delicious kebabs, aromatic spices, and traditional desserts that will transport your taste buds on a culinary journey. Engage with locals, share stories, and learn about their traditions and way of life. Remember, immersing yourself in the present culture is just as important as exploring the ancient past.

turkish food
Mouthwatering Turkish delicacies

Fun Facts About Göbekli Tepe

  1. The Mystical Buried Treasure: It is believed that Göbekli Tepe was intentionally buried by its ancient builders. And incidentally it remained hidden beneath layers of earth for thousands of years until its rediscovery in the 1990s. The exact reasons why they buried it are still a mystery, adding to the enigma surrounding this extraordinary site.
  2. The Mesmerizingly Monumental Architecture: The stone pillars at Göbekli Tepe are up to 20 feet (6 meters) tall and weigh a massive several tons each. Imagine the colossal effort required to carve, transport, and erect these massive structures without the help of modern machinery. 
  3. An Enigmatic Ancient “Social Club”: Some researchers believe that Göbekli Tepe acted like a gathering place for ancient communities. It is thought to have been a center for social and religious ceremonies, bringing people together for rituals, feasts, and perhaps even dances. Imagine, it could easily have been the world’s first social club.
  4. Mysterious T-shaped Pillars: One of the most distinctive features of Göbekli Tepe is its T-shaped pillars. Each pillar is adorned with intricate carvings of animals, which may represent deities or spirit beings. The symbolism behind these pillars and their reliefs continues to baffle archaeologists even today. And that has caused endless speculation and interpretation over the years.
  5. Changing Our Understanding of History: Göbekli Tepe’s discovery challenged the widely accepted timeline of human civilization. Its existence pushes back the date of complex human societies and monumental architecture by thousands of years. It’s a reminder that our knowledge of the past is constantly evolving, and there may still be many surprises waiting to be uncovered.
historical sites in Turkey
Explore the historical sites

Tips To Travel To Göbekli Tepe

  1. Research and Plan: Start by researching the site, its history, and visiting hours. Make sure to check for any special events or closures. And plan your visit accordingly so that you can make the most of your visit.
  2. Dress For Comfort: Göbekli Tepe is an outdoor archaeological site, so dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable shoes for walking on uneven terrain.
  3. Mode of Transport: Fly into the Şanlıurfa GAP Airport, which is the nearest airport to Göbekli Tepe. From there, you can hire a taxi or arrange a private transfer to reach the site. Alternatively, you can rent a car for more flexibility.
  4. Guided Tours: Joining a guided tour will definitely enhance your overall experience. Guides will provide insights, historical context, and answer any questions you may have about Göbekli Tepe.
  5. Bring Sunscreen: Don’t forget to wear sunscreen. The heat can hinder your experience. So remember to carry sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the strong rays.
  6. Stay Hydrated: Remember to bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. Additionally you can also carry some light snacks or energy bars to keep you fueled during your exploration.
  7. Click Amazing Shots: You must capture the beauty of Göbekli Tepe, but not without being respectful of the site’s rules. Some areas may have restrictions on photography or the use of tripods, so follow the guidelines closely.
  8. Explore Nearby Attractions: Don’t just stop at Göbekli Tepe. Consider exploring other attractions in the region, such as Şanlıurfa’s historic sites or the beautiful Harran village. Expand your itinerary to fully immerse yourself in the local culture and history.
  9. Respect The Site: Göbekli Tepe is an archaeological treasure, so remember to be respectful of the site and its surroundings. Ensure that you follow all instructions, avoid touching the ancient structures, and help preserve the remarkable gem of a place for future generations.


So, this was it Wanderlusters. Now you know all you need to know about Göbekli Tepe and the mysteries that surround it. So get your sense of adventure on and get ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. 

Some FAQs For You

Is Göbekli Tepe the oldest civilization? Why was it abandoned?

Göbekli Tepe is not a civilization in itself, but it is the oldest known monumental architecture. It dates back over 11,000 years, predating the rise of ancient civilizations like Sumer, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. The exact reason for the abandonment of Göbekli Tepe has still not been discovered. Some theories suggest that changes in the environment or shifts in the culture may have played a role in the process.

What was found on the pillars of Gobekli Tepe?

The pillars of Göbekli Tepe are adorned with intricate carvings of animals, including foxes, lions, birds, and snakes. These “reliefs” are believed to have  some symbolic and possibly religious significance. But their exact meanings are still debated upon.

How high are the pillars at Gobekli Tepe?

The pillars at Göbekli Tepe vary in height, but they stand very very tall. Some even reach up to 20 feet (6 meters). 

Who built Gobekli Tepe?

Legend has it that Göbekli Tepe was built by ancient hunter-gatherer communities living in the region. These early humans, without the benefits of modern technology, managed to create the monumental structures. And that is awe-inspiring. 

Is Gobekli Tepe older than Egypt?

Yes, Göbekli Tepe predates the ancient Egyptian civilization. While according to history Egypt’s Old Kingdom and the construction of the pyramids began around 4,700 years ago, Göbekli Tepe was already standing for over 6,000 years at that time. Making it quite older than Egypt.


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