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When your eyes meet the thoughtful gaze cast by the obsidian eyes of Balıklıgöl Statue exhibited at the Museum of Şanlıurfa, think about the events he has silently witnessed. We are certain that you would feel amazed and have more respect for the artist(s) who created the statue with great patience and care. When it was carved out of a block of limestone around 9,500 BC, the humanity has not been through the transition to settled life yet, and it took a further four thousand years for the pyramids to be built, and six thousand years had to pass before the scripts were invented. Similarly, many other events nowadays considered as milestones in the history of civilisation had to wait for thousands of years to take place.
The landmass making up the great portion of Turkey is called Anatolia, and it means the "land where the sun rises". As the name goes back to Antiquity it may also be construed as the "land where civilisations risen" since many milestones in human history took place in Anatolia where the first human settlement was found, first temple was built, and first coins were minted. Recent discoveries and never ending finds are added to the cultural and historical heritage of humanity, and our pride with Anatolia grows. The 11,500 year old Balıklıgöl Statue was one of those finds, revealing the role played by Anatolia in development of sculpture.
There are earlier figurines unearthed in various locations of the word, however, those artefacts are only a few centimetres tall. It is not an exaggeration to argue that the Balıklıgöl Statue with its lifelike size and realistic details caused quite a stir in the scientific world. Before finding the statue, the common view was that the artistic activities started to take place after transition to settled life. The Balıklıgöl Statue is a discovery which changed that view by proving that our hunter-gatherer ancestors were also involved in the artistic activities, a fact requiring amendments in history books. There is no consensus on what the statue was depicting; a god, an administrator, or an ordinary person. However, all experts agree that a new page needed to be opened in the history.
The Balıklıgöl Statue was found as recent as 1994, around Balıklıgöl (Abraham's Pool), an area considered to be the holiest site of Şanlıurfa, which is one of the oldest and holiest settlements of the world. Balıklıgöl has been associated with Abraham who spent most of his life in Urfa. The oldest temple of the world, Göbeklitepe, and Harran, which is famous for its original domestic structures that have been built with ancient techniques, are also within the boundaries of Şanlıurfa province. The Museum of Şanlıurfa, where the Balıklıgöl Statue is on display, also exhibits the animal bas reliefs unearthed at Göbeklitepe excavations. In short, if you are keen about culture, art, and history, you should keep Şanlıurfa on top of your places to visit list.
Şanlıurfa Airport is 35 km to the city centre. There are two daily direct flights to İstanbul and one to Ankara, which allows transfer.
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