The number of cultural and natural assets in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List has reached 85, with Turkey's historic eastern and southeastern Anatolian towns joining the list.

Two more sites within Turkey have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. The total number of Turkish assets has now reached 85.

The Late Antique and Medieval Church and Monasteries of Midyat, and the surrounding area (Tur Abdin) in the southeastern Mardin, as well as the historic town of Kemaliye in the Erzincan province, were added to the list, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry statement.

All 85 sites are from the Gobeklitepe archaeological site in Turkey's southeastern province of Sanliurfa, and the ancient city of Ephesus in western Anatolia.

Apart from Turkey’s spectacular beaches and other natural attractions such as mountain resorts and forests, the UNESCO-certified cultural assets also attract millions of tourists from around the world.

These are the two Turkish towns that most recently entered the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Midyat and Surrounding area

A priest is walking in the square of a monastery in Midyat, Mardin.
A priest is walking in the square of a monastery in Midyat, Mardin. (Mardin Valiliği)

Midyat, an historic town of Mardin, is located in southeastern Anatolia.

Several empires have ruled this small town, including Assyrians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and the Ottomans.

Today, people from different religions and sects live in the region together, continuing on the path of social harmony as seen throughout the centuries.

Midyat is known to be the historic centre of the Assyrians in Turkey. There are monasteries everywhere.

A general view of Monastery of Virgin Mary is seen as late Antique and Medieval Churches and Monasteries were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, at the historical site of Midyat, Mardin, Turkey on May 01, 2021.
A general view of Monastery of Virgin Mary is seen as late Antique and Medieval Churches and Monasteries were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, at the historical site of Midyat, Mardin, Turkey on May 01, 2021. (AA)

The Tur Abdin region in Midyat houses early examples of monastic architecture, a place that has seen intense construction and change since the early periods of Christianity.

It witnessed the emergence of a new and unique architectural language that can be associated with the Syriac Orthodox community throughout history.

Tourists visit Mor Hobil-Mor Abrohom Syriac Christian monastery in the town of Midyat in Mardin province, southeastern Turkey, August 16, 2009.
Tourists visit Mor Hobil-Mor Abrohom Syriac Christian monastery in the town of Midyat in Mardin province, southeastern Turkey, August 16, 2009. (Reuters)

The rural landscape, a limestone plateau, covers 80 villages with approximately 100 churches and 70 monasteries.

The Mor Sobo Church, Virgin Mary Church (Yoldath Aloho), Deyrulzafaran Monastery, Mor Gabriel Monastery, Mor Abai Monastery, Mor Loozor Monastery, Mor Yakup Monastery, Mor Quryaqos Church and Mor Azozo Church, are also included in the permanent list.

A drone photo shows an aerial view of Midyat district of Mardin, Turkey on June 03, 2020.
A drone photo shows an aerial view of Midyat district of Mardin, Turkey on June 03, 2020. (AA)

Together with surrounding terraced vineyards, olive and almond trees, the monasteries and churches form a dramatic landscape.

"We believe there will be a large influx of tourists here after the epidemic," Midyat Mayor Veysi Şahin said.

Erzincan Kemaliye

Over time, the historic town of Kemaliye became an important trade centre within the eastern Anatolia region due to the caravan routes of the Silk Road. 

Dark Canyon, where
Dark Canyon, where "Base Jamp" and "Wingsuit" jumps take place in Kemaliye district of Erzincan, attracts visitors. (AA)

It also connects northern and southern cities within the region by a valley among high mountains and cliffs.

In addition to this, the town is blessed with unique natural elements.

The Dark Canyon, which includes the Karasu River passing through Erzincan's Kemaliye district, has 500 meters of steep slopes.
The Dark Canyon, which includes the Karasu River passing through Erzincan's Kemaliye district, has 500 meters of steep slopes. (AA)

The Karanlik (Dark) Canyon, that one will find there, is among the five deepest canyons in the world - it has a depth of 1,000 metres. The canyon is spread over 35 kilometres.

Two base jumping athletes are preparing to jump from a cage hanged 500 meter above Karasu river in Erzincan, Kemaliye.
Two base jumping athletes are preparing to jump from a cage hanged 500 meter above Karasu river in Erzincan, Kemaliye. (AA)

Traces of Turks can be found in the Dilli Valley, located 4 to 5 km northwest of Kemaliye.

Source: TRT World