Inscription of Çatalhöyük on the UNESCO World Heritage List

In 2012 the site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During its session on July 1st, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee which is meeting in St. Petersburg between 25 June - 6 July 2012 for its annual session accepted the inclusion of the Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük among the World Heritage Sites. 

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UNESCO is an international organisation devoted to caring for cultural and natural sites of outstanding value. Outstanding Universal Value means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity. As such, the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance to the international community as a whole. The Committee defines the criteria for the inscription of properties on the World Heritage List.

..... Statement of Çatalhöyük’s Outstanding Universal Value

Criterion (iii): Çatalhöyük provides a unique testimony to a moment of the Neolithic, in which the first agrarian settlements were established in central Anatolia and developed over centuries from villages to urban centres, largely based on egalitarian principles. The early principles of these settlements have been well preserved through the abandonment of the site for several millennia. These principles can be read in the urban plan, architectural structures, wall paintings and burial evidence. The stratigraphy of up to 18 settlement layers provides an exceptional testimony to the gradual development, re-shaping and expansion of the settlement.

Criterion (iv): The house clusters of Çatalhöyük, characterized by their streetless neighbourhoods, dwellings with roof access, and house types representing a highly circumscribed distribution of activity areas and features according to a clear spatial order aligned on cardinal directions, form an outstanding settlement type of the Neolithic period. The comparable sizes of the dwellings throughout the city illustrate an early type of urban layout based on community and egalitarian ideals.

To sum up, the decision was based on emphasized that Çatalhöyük, the history of which dates back to 7,400 B.C., represents a unique testimonial to a certain stage of Neolithic Period and displays a settlement style that illustrates a significant phase in the human history and an urban planning that is based on a sense of community and ideals of equality.

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All visual materials contained on this website are the property of Çatalhöyük Research Project
Poznañ Archaeological Expedition at Çatalhöyük, Adam Mickiewicz University
ul. Uniwersytetu Poznañskiego 7, 61-614 Poznañ, Poland