Antalya’s richness waiting for UNESCO

Turkey ranks No. 1 in the world for historical sites awaiting a place on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list, and the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya is overflowing with historical candidates for the international protection and distinction.

Joining the permanent UNESCO World Heritage list highlights historical sites and tends to draw more international tourism and interest. Currently, Antalya’s only site on the permanent list is the ancient city of Xanthos.

Only one place from each country may join the permanent UNESCO list each year, and the Antalya Promotion Foundation (ATAV) is jockeying to make that place Alanya Castle in 2020. The castle has been lingering on the temporary UNESCO World Heritage list for two decades.

“With 78 artifacts, Turkey ranks first in the world waiting list. Antalya ranks first in Turkey with nine works,” he said. Alanya Castle lost this chance a few years ago due to a lack of documents. For 2020, the Alanya Castle is the closest candidate for the permanent list, and its file should be completely prepared.”

In line with that goal, ATAV prepared, under the leadership of City Council Tourism Working Group, a report on the candidates waiting for permanent listing in both in Antalya and Turkey, and ATAV will work toward getting the sites in Antalya on the main list.

According to the report, 1,092 artifacts in the world are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Turkey, which is home to thousands of historic and cultural artifacts, has only 18 places on the list.

In Antalya, where more than 400 ancient cities and historical artifacts are located, only the ancient city of Xanthos is on the permanent list, the report said. Nine sites in the city have been on the temporary list for 25 years.

Among those sites are Karain Cave since 1994, Alanya Castle and St. Nicholas Church since 2000, Lycian civilization ancient cities and Perge since 2009, Aspendos Ancient Theater and aqueducts since 2015, Yivli Minaret Mosque since 2016, Güllük Mountain – Termesso National Park and Kekova sunken city since 2000.

Antalya has the most ancient cities within its borders, said Recep Yavuz, chairman of the City Council Tourism Working Group.

“This cultural richness is a synthesis of Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman empires, which makes Antalya different. Antalya, which usually comes to the fore with its sea and hotels, unfortunately did not make the names of its cultural richness heard in the outside world,” Yavuz said. “A tourist on holiday in Belek does not know that Aspendos, the most spectacular historical theater that one can see in a lifetime, is 15 minutes away. Demre is the birthplaces of St. Nicholas, which is known as Santa Claus in the world. But how many people know it?”

More energy should be spent on landing the sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list, which is an international brand known as a great opportunity, Yavuz said.

ATAV’s theme is ‘artifacts waiting’

ATAV President Yeliz Gül Ege said that ATAV determined its 2020 calendar’s theme as the “artifacts waiting on the UNESCO temporary list” and proposed the formation of a committee to carry out works under the auspices of UNESCO.

“A committee should be formed, and this committee should professionally manage the works related to the applications,” she added.

Ege stated that UNESCO includes one place from a country in the main list every year.

“This is the system, and UNESCO has important criteria for the development and sustainability of that place. It is necessary to prepare a very detailed report about the harmony of this place with the city and its environment, its protection and its sustainability in the next years. It is not a good thing that our places have been waiting on the temporary list for so long, and we should work hard for their inclusion in the main list. Now, Alanya Castle comes to the fore among the others on the list. We will work for it next year.”