Kuala Lumpur, Monday, 27 July 2015 – The ancient city of Ephesus and the historic Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens were recently inaugurated as cultural properties in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List at the recent 39th session of the World Heritage Committee.
The UNESCO World Heritage List is committed to drive efforts in protection and conservation of natural and cultural heritage sites around the world. The Committee selects the entries based on the universal value the site brings and each site must meet at least one out of the ten criteria. This year’s addition of the two sites in Turkey joins 13 other cultural assets that makes up a total of 15 Turkish sites that are inscribed on the reputable list.
“We are honoured to receive such a prestigious recognition from UNESCO that acknowledges and reveres the cultural and historical heritage as well as the natural beauty of Turkey, putting Turkey on a global pedestal. It is a double celebration for the nation as we celebrate the good news and commemorate the thirtieth anniversary since Turkey’s first site was inscribed to the World Heritage List in 1985,” said Kaan YILMAZ, Attaché in Turkey Embassy Tourism and Information Office, Malaysia.
Situated in Western Turkey in İzmir, Ephesus is a site of global cultural heritage that was finally added to the list after 21 years. The city draws two million local and international visitors annually and dates back to 6,000 B.C. Throughout history, the city functioned as a vital Roman port city as well as a cultural and commercial hub. Today, it is home to many magnificent structures including the Library of Celsus, the Great Theatre, the House of the Virgin Mary, and even one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis.
While in the Southeastern of Turkey, the fortified Diyarbakır is famed for its city walls and the 8,000 year old Hevsel Gardens. The defensive Diyarbakır Fortress is 5.8km long with numerous towers and gates that was built in 349 A.D. Inscriptions written in the Hellenic, Latin, Syriac, Armenian and Arabic languages are also found on the walls which showcase the interlacing of civilisations in Anatolia. Flowing down from the ancient walls, the fertile lands of the Hevsel Gardens serve as an important green link between the fortress and the Tigris River valley that supplies food and water to the city.