Göbeklitepe, regarded as one of the oldest sites of archeological ruins and one of the oldest temples in the world, located in Turkey's southeastern Şanlıurfa province, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday.
The decision was taken at the 42nd UNESCO World Heritage List Committee Meeting held in Bahrain's capital Manama, which will continue until July 4.
Discovered during excavations by researchers from Istanbul and Chicago universities in 1963, Göbeklitepe is located near the neighborhood of Örencik in Şanlıurfa, 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the city center.
Characterized as "ground zero for human history," Göbeklitepe stands out among other archeological sites, dating back 12,000 years, circa 10,000 B.C. Excavations at the site were launched in 1995 by German Professor Klaus Schmidt, who brought to life the previously-unearthed finds that have long caused a stir among academics.
Accepted as "the oldest temple in the world" by many international institutions and primarily by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Göbeklitepe has been registered on UNESCO's Tentative List five years ago.
A steel roof measuring 4,000 square meters was constructed at the site amid efforts to preserve Göbeklitepe.
After being temporarily closed to visitors due to restoration work, Göbeklitepe partially reopened in February.
According to the foreign ministry of Turkey, it is "the world's oldest known megalithic structure located in Upper Mesopotamia and dates back to 11,000 years."
With the inclusion of Göbeklitepe, the number of cultural heritage sites from Turkey added to the UNESCO World Heritage List has increased to 18, with others being Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği, Historic Areas of Istanbul, Hattusha: the Hittite Capital, Nemrut Mountain, Hierapolis-Pamukkale, Xanthos-Letoon, City of Safranbolu, Archaeological Site of Troy, Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex, Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük, Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire, Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape, Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape, Ephesus, Archaeological Site of Ani and Aphrodisias.