Göbeklitepe: The Archaeological Site Appears as the Star of Virtual Tours

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Göbeklitepe is the world’s oldest temple in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Turkey.  This oldest temple of the world has been at the center of the world’s curiosity so far. As a result of this, people visited the site over 1.67 million times online at a time. As you know, Turkish authorities had later closed the museum buildings to visitors as part of measures to mitigate the spread of novel coronavirus.

Virtual Museum tours are on-demand in Turkey due to coronavirus quarantine. (Image Credit-Anadolu Agency)
Virtual Museum tours are on-demand in Turkey due to coronavirus quarantine. (Image Credit-Anadolu Agency)

The Culture and Tourism Ministry decided to use technological facilities in museums to respond to the intense interest in cultural heritage during the coronavirus outbreak. Moreover, the ministry intended to contribute to the promotion of museums and ruins.

Virtual Museums Step Forward with Göbeklitepe

Immediately after the first COVID-19 case emerged in Turkey, Sanal Müze (in eng. “The Virtual Museum”) application and website drew great attraction so far. The ministry had already prepared its infrastructure on March 19 and launched on March 25.

Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum
Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum

According to the authorities from Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry, people visited some 16 large museums in Turkey more than 6 million times online. In doing so, they benefitted from the virtual museum service during the lockdown.

Göbeklitepe: The Zero Point of History

The archaeological site has already left its mark on history as the zero points. Further, UNESCO declared Göbeklitepe as an official UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018. Hence, Göbeklitepe became the most commonplace among virtual museums.

The Museum of the War of Independence (The War of “National Liberty”), has been visited nearly 1 million times. The museum takes place in the First Assembly Building that witnessed the turning point of the Republic of Turkey. What this turning point was that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades made efforts to establish modern-day Turkey.

War of Independence Museum, Ankara, Turkey. (Image Credit-Hilidify)
War of Independence Museum, Ankara, Turkey. (Image Credit-Hilidify)

The Ephesus Archaeological Museum, on the other hand, hosted 665,000 online visitors. The museum is in the Aegean province of İzmir. What’s more, it is famous for the statue of Artemis retrieved from the temple of the goddess.

As for the Troya Museum in Çanakkale province, it hosted 536,130 online visitors. Meanwhile, Troya Museum reached the finals this year at the European Museum of the Year Award.

Ephesus is the pearl of Turkey just like Göbeklitepe. (Image Credit-Clio Museum Tours)
Ephesus is the pearl of Turkey just like Göbeklitepe. (Image Credit-Clio Museum Tours)

The museums in the first four were the ones that shed light on Anatolian and world history.  So, they are the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, Gaziantep Archeology Museum, and Zeugma Museum.

The Highest Visitor Figure in History

The museums and ruins affiliated with the Culture and Tourism Ministry hosted over 35 million visitors in 2019. Thus, the number of visitors has reached the highest visitor figure in history.

Mother Earth Cybele at Anatolian Civilisations Museum in Ankara (Image Credit- Paris Review)
Mother Earth Cybele at Anatolian Civilisations Museum in Ankara (Image Credit- Paris Review)

In the Virtual Museum application visitors can start their virtual tour from any section of the museum. So, it makes one feel like they are walking at the location.

Alternative Cultural Tourism During Coronavirus Quarantine

In the meantime, history lovers have the opportunity to examine the presented works by zooming in 3D format. Furthermore, virtual travelers can also access information on the history of the works. And so, they can also access the places demonstrated in the museums.

Turkey's museums have been serving in a virtual concept for a while and Göbeklitepe ranks first. (Image Credit-Archaeology Wiki)
Turkey’s museums have been serving in a virtual concept for a while and Göbeklitepe ranks first. (Image Credit-Archaeology Wiki)

The museums host millions of rare works of culture and arts. So, it is available to visit the museum in the virtual environment on sanalmuze.gov.tr. Virtual museums, which offer the opportunity to visit museums for free, will be open to visitors even after the coronavirus outbreak ends.

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