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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey


On the UNESCO intangible heritage list for Turkey are the Âşıklık (minstrelsy) tradition, Karagöz (shadow theatre), Nevruz (the New Year and the beginning of spring), Meddah (public storytelling), and the Mevlevi Sema ceremony.

There are also nine sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List for tangible heritage that are located in Turkey. These are the Göreme National Park and the rock sites located in Cappadocia; the Great Mosque and the hospital of Divriği; the historical areas in Istanbul; Hattusha, the Hittite Capita; the Nemrut Mountain; Hierapolis in Pamukkale; Xantos-Letoon, the city of Safranbolu; and the archaeological site of Troy. While the Göreme National Park and Hierapolis in Pamukkale are mixed sites, the others are listed as cultural sites. The city of Safranbolu was listed in 1994 and the Archaeological Site of Troy in 1998. The others were listed between 1985 and 1988.

The historical area of Istanbul, which is one of the most important sites listed in Turkey, faces the threat to be put on the Heritage in Danger list. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has been warning the Municipality of Istanbul and the Turkish government ever since 2004 to take the necessary measurements in order to protect this historical area. Some steps were taken, but after yearly consultations by the UNESCO missions, Istanbul was given two years in 2006 to improve the preservation conditions. During their last consultations the mission drew attention to three main problems: the railway bridge project over the Golden Horn, the tube passage for vehicles under the Bosphorus, and the site management plan for all historical areas.