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Author Solivagant
#16 | Posted: 9 Sep 2016 11:34 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I note that, with the addition of 10 to its T List in April of this year, Turkey now has far and away the largest T List of any country. I post below some analyses I have carried out and some comments on the rate and nature of the additions

The current "Largest T List" countries (30 or more sites, with such corrections and reconciliations as I have been able to identify compared with the UNESCO figures and those on this Web site) are -
Turkey - 69 (70 on UNESCO as Ani not removed). 59 on Els as 10 in Apr 2016 not yet added)
China - 53 (56 on UNESCO as Huashan and Shannongiya not removed. And Chinese section of Silk Rd – land section appears to be on twice from 2008 and 2016 – but these may genuinely be separate?)
Iran- 47 (49 on UNESCO as Lut and Qanats not removed).
India - 44 (47 on UNESCO as Nalanda, Le Corb + Kanchen not removed. 43 on Els as Keibul Lamjao not added)
Italy - 41 (and on UNESCO. 40 on Els as CL of Benedictine settlements not yet added)
France - 37 (UNESCO 38 but Le Corb not removed. 36 on Els but Terres Australes not added)
Egypt - 33 (all "agree")
Spain - 32 (33 on UNESCO as Antequara not removed).
Uzbekistan - 30 (31 on UNESCO as W Tienshan not removed.)

So – there are "only" 3 "European" countries (not including Turkey!) among the top 9. Whether this trend will be carried through to nominations and successful inscriptions in the coming years is another matter no doubt! But Turkey, China and Iran certainly have been very successful both at bringing sites forward and in convincing the WHC (if not always the AB!!!) to inscribe.

In my posts above, I outlined the "in and out" history of Turkey's engagement with the WHS scheme and, in particular its significant activity since 2011. This addition of 10 more sites in Apr 2016 continues the trend. Unlike many countries which are on a 7 or 10 year cycle for renewing their T List, Turkey is adding to its T List every year on around the same date in April! So the 54 additions for the past 6 years have been -

2011 15 April - 4 (inc Bergama)
2012 13 April - 13 (inc Ani)
2013 15 April - 4
2014 15 April - 13
2015 12 April - 10
2016 13 April – 10

During the same time it has achieved 7 inscriptions
2011 - Selemiye Mosque
2012 - Catalhoyuk
2014 - Bergama
2014 - Bursa and Cumalikizik
2015 - Ephesus
2015 - Diyarbakir
2016 - Ani

As far as I can make out, Turkey hasn't removed anything from its T List in those 6 years so the NET increase in that list is 54 added – 7 inscribed = 47!!

I pointed out above that Turkey had had a T List of 61 sites back in 1984 but had scrapped most of these and created one of a mere 18 sites in 2000. Most of the net increase from there to the current 69 has therefore occurred in the 2011 – 2016 period. Who knows whether it intends continuing to increase its T List each year – it already has enough to keep it going with nominations for many years to come!

Currently the list of sites "Formerly" on Turkey's T List as identified on this site stands at 23. When the big "clear out" occurred it must have been larger so a fair number must have been transferred back to Turkey's T List in recent years. Unfortunately "Wayback machine" hasn't kept the country pages from around 2010 and I have only identified the City of Van (added this year) as having "come back in". As of today, the "former" list includes a fair number of Natural sites which Turkey has seemed notably reluctant to place on its T List whilst, I suspect, many of the cultural sites have been transferred back onto the current T List. So it isn't clear to what extent Turkey is targeting a different "set" of sites from those it identified (and later "rejected") all those years ago based, for instance, on an improved understanding of what "succeeds" and how many similar sites might have been inscribed by other countries. Looking at the 10 T List sites just added they can be categorised as
a. Mosques and related buildings - 5
b. Castles and Archaeological sites - 3
c. Bridges (Something of an Islamic "speciality" across Turkey, Bosnia and Iran!) - 1
d. Natural Sites - 1

So, the relative lack of Natural sites continues, as does the significant number of religious sites. I guess that Turkey might point out the number of Cathedrals inscribed within a relatively short distance of each other in Europe and comment that its own religious architectural styles deserve as much recognition!! But generally there certainly isn't a great deal of "Novelty" or creativity among the latest T List additions nor, as far as I can assess, of "gap filling"..

PS I note a number of Turkish Web sites being quite proud of Turkey adding 10 sites. E.g this in English headed "10 new Turkish sites on UNESCO list" and "Turkey now has 70 places on the tentative list. It makes us the country with the highest number of natural and cultural heritages on the UNESCO tentative list."!!!! - &nID=103724&NewsCatID=375
This has a bit of background about each site with photo -

Author elsslots
#17 | Posted: 9 Sep 2016 11:39 
not yet added

On a side-note to this topic: I wonder why you don't see them, I added all the new ones already on Sept 6.

Author Solivagant
#18 | Posted: 9 Sep 2016 13:02 
I wonder why you don't see them

I guess it must have been a browser refresh issue - strange because I certainly loaded the site "afresh" today onto a new tab and, as far as I remember, will have done so several times as I looked at the T Lists of each of the different countries - many of which wouldn't have been looked at in many a month. The cached pages must have been very persistent!! A nuisance as it took a lot of effort to track down the differences across the 3 - "Correct", "UNESCO" and "Els"!!!

Author elsslots
#19 | Posted: 24 Jul 2018 12:29 

Author elsslots
#20 | Posted: 26 Dec 2018 01:29 

Author Solivagant
#21 | Posted: 26 Dec 2018 05:15 
Íznik is also preparing a nomination in the near future.

"Been there"!!
Turkey has "better" - A very "historic" city of course but its viewable remains consist of yet more walls, early Ottoman mosques and pre Ottoman conquest churches. The main one of these is where the Council of Nicaea met and developed the "Nicaean Creed". After functioning as a mosque for centuries it became a museum under Ataturk but was back to being a mosque when we visited in 2015 - though we were shown the Byzantine Christian paintings - or what remained of them - with no problems!! Seems to be the way that Turkey under Erdogan is going - next the Hagia Sophia??? See this article from earlier this year - -of-a-battle-for-turkey-s-soul-1.3342259

Iznik is nicely situated on a lake and is very close to Bursa (we visited on our way there). A lot of Ceramic shops too. "Up" primarily for the "Tourist spend" I suspect

Author sveinh
#22 | Posted: 18 Feb 2019 14:07 | Edited by: sveinh 
Itinerary 13. - 18. februar - a short trip to Turkey west.

We have earlier visited Istanbul (2008) and Edirne/Selemiye (last september - together with Craig and Hubert), so we had a kind of head start.

The itinerery which Randi planned startet in Istanbul with a rental car and then head east, but because of bad weather we "turned it all around" and went south.
It ended up like this:

Day 1: 17:15 flight Oslo - Istanbul - arrive at midnight.
Overnight near Ataturk airport.
Day 2: Istanbul - Eceabat 3:40/300 km, ferry 0:30, Canakkale - Troy 0:30/30 km. See Troy. Troy - Bargama 3:00/190 km.
Overnight in Bergama.
Day 3: See Akropolis and site of Asklepeion in Bergama/Pergamon. Bergama - Seleçuk/Ephesos 2:20/180 km. See Ephesos. Seleçuk - Geyre/Aphrodisias 2:10/160 km.
Overnight in Geyre (the only available hotel).
Day 4: See Aphrodisias. Geyre - Kinik/Xanthos-Letoon 3:20/260 km. See Xanthos. Kinik - Pamukkale 3:30/255 km hours.
Overnight in Pamukkale.
Day 5: See Hierapolis-Pamukkale. Pamukkale - Bursa 5:15/425 km. See Bursa.
Overnight in Bursa.
Day 6: Bursa - Istanbul Ataturk airport 2:00/170 km.
Flight to Oslo 14:20

We had pre-booked only one hotel, the first night in Istanbul.

The roads are excellent and it's easy driving - little traffic in february, except for Istanbul.
It was a pleasure visting Turkey.

Author Solivagant
#23 | Posted: 22 May 2019 06:31 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I was recently watching a TV program about Turkey's wildlife/forests etc and a statistic was mentioned which coincidentally chimed with the fate of its Kizilirmak Delta nomination and highlights Turkey's record on Natural WHS!
a. The Nomination didn't even justify a Defer or Refer so Turkey withdrew it and we are unable to see the reasons and whether it is "redeemable" - but I have seen Turkish newspapers which indicated problems over nearby buildings etc
b. Turkey has 18 WHS - but not a single "Natural" one. It has 2 Mixed sites - Goreme and Pamukkale
c. Its enormous T List of 78 sites contains just 3 Natural ones - Kizilirmak, Lake Tuz and Güllük Dagi-Termessos NP
d. This lack of a natural WHS reflects Turkey's wider picture regarding Natural conservation. It has almost the smallest area of protected land of any country in the World - A mere 0.2%. Just above Afghanistan, Libya and Micronesia! See this (sortable) World Bank Web page - "Terrestrial protected areas (% of total land area)"
e. It isn't that it has no natural values to protect - it sits across major flyways and is "the only country covered almost entirely by three of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots: the Caucasus, Irano-Anatolian, and Mediterranean," . It is also of major significance as a repository for plant gene diversity. Yet its "rank in the Yale Environmental Performance Index dropped from 49th to 109th since 2006. It ranks 121st out of 132 countries in Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation."
f. Turkey's growth rate in 21st C has been very variable but it has a reputation for development of roads, dams etc which pay little attention to conservation - possibly a reason why it hasn't wanted to "engage" with Natural WHS? Such engagement would "only" bring restriction and delay for a government with other priorities.
g. IUCN is active in the country but perhaps doesn't see the creation of WHS as being paramount in helping conserve Turkey's natural resources and would rather support "smaller scale" activities (RAMSAR etc)? Surely Turkey can't have nominated Kizilirmak without taking advice from IUCN as to whether it might have OUV?
h. Among the "big hitters" regarding total number of WHS, Turkey isn't completely alone in not having any Natural ones - neighbouring Greece (much much smaller, of course and imuch, much better on the other measures than Turkey - e.g 35.2% of land is protected!) also has 18 - all Cultural, apart from 2 Mixed (Meteora and Athos). Among its 14 TWHS are just 2 Natural ones (Samara NP and Dadia NP). The latter, right on Turkey's border, would major on its "cross-roads" aspects whilst Samara was deferred back in 1987 and hasn't re-emerged!. Greece has a number of other National Parks on its T List (including Olympus, Prespes and Zagorochoria) but each of them is foreseen as a "mixed" site. And Greece wasn't even able to ride on the coat-tails of the "Primeval Beech forests" unlike some of its near neighbours such as Albania!
i. Perhaps, the difficulty of gaining a Natural WHS is just not worth the effort, risk and economic hassle when there are rich "Cultural pickings" more readily available and Turkey and Greece provide examples of this?

Author Zoe
#24 | Posted: 22 May 2019 06:40 
It also took a long time to protect Pamukkale!

Author jonathanfr
#25 | Posted: 24 May 2019 06:28 

Author clyde
#26 | Posted: 21 Jun 2021 11:48 
After almost 8 years of considering to go on a road trip round Turkey's WHS which never materialised, an inviting photo of an empty beach (usually crowded) from Thomas Buechler combined with Turkey's last minute decision to ease travel restrictions and requirements for travellers coming to Turkey from Luxembourg and a handful of other countries just after Ramadan festivities, convinced me to go for it - another plus point was that several of Turkey's almost 100 tWHS were inscribed in the meantime too.

We wanted to reduce air travel and contact as much as possible for COVID-19 reasons so we opted against the many domestic flights or trains and one way car rentals. Having a diesel hatchback with tinted glass proved very economical and ideal to reach off-the-beaten track places even on unpaved roads in summer conditions. Turkey has excellent roads overall but lots of hills and mountains mean that in rainy or snowy conditions, road trips might not be such a wise option, especially in the east part of the country. Police, Jandarma or Military checks are frequent in the east (the magic word to wave you off quickly is tourist/tourism) while almost non-existent in the western part of the country. Most car rentals have transponders installed for e-tolls (HGS) which will be deducted from your credit card after the trip and an international driving licence is only required if your national driving licence is in non-Roman letters. Practically all petrol stations have credit card (mostly contactless) machines but make sure to match the pump receipt with the credit card receipt to avoid being cheated.

Always opt for Turkish lira prices (at least for the time being as it really is devalued) and apart for some petty cash just in case from Turkish banks or ATMS (all other banks charge commission and unfavourable rates) we were fine with contactless credit card use which was a very good plus point to avoid contact/sanitising gel/wipes etc. all the time. We planned our visits to the usually most crowded sites on weekends as all locals were on lockdown so most sites and roads were almost empty. Manual and electronic radars are very much in use especially in the western part of the country and the fake cardboard police cars and officers are really quite effective to reduce overspeeding. Whenever any roadworks are carried out, be prepared to drive on unpaved or unfinished surfaces, so full insurance including windscreen and tyre protection is worth considering especially for longer trips.

With some careful planning using the tentative list map, we managed to visit 16 tWHS together with the 16 WHS we wanted to visit (we had already visited Istanbul and Edirne in the past). In the western part of the country all WHS and most tWHS are open every day in the spring/summer months, while in the eastern part of the country make sure to double check on the website as some sites are closed on Mondays. Here is the figure of 8 loop we did from Istanbul Grand Airport and back to Istanbul Grand Airport (around 8,000 kms) staying overnight for the majority of WHS except for some which classify as a minor hotspot:

Istanbul Grand Airport-Safranbolu WHS-Bogazkale (Hattusha and Yazilikaya WHS)-Goreme NP WHS-Mount Nemrut WHS-Gobekli Tepe WHS-Sanliurfa tWHS-Diyarbakir WHS-Malabadi Bridge tWHS-Ahlat tWHS-Akdamar Church tWHS-Van Fortress tWHS-Ichan Pasha Palace tWHS-Ani WHS-Divrigi WHS-Arslantepe tWHS-Caravanserai tWHS-Selcuk Madrasas tWHS-Nigde tWHS-Aspendos Theatre tWHS-Konya tWHS-Catalhoyuk WHS-Yivli minaret mosque tWHS-Lycian cities tWHS-Kekova tWHS-Xanthos and Letoon WHS-St Nicholas Church tWHS-Hierapolis/Pamukkale WHS-Laodikeia tWHS-Aphrodisias WHS-Ephesus WHS-Pergamon WHS, Troy WHS, Bursa and Cumalikizik WHS-Istanbul Grand Airport

We could have easily added at least 5-6 more tentative WHS on our way but we couldn't fit in everything plus we decided not to in favour of allowing more time to the best WHS. Even though Turkey's tWHS is never ending, most of the tWHS we visited were worthy of inscription in our opinion and anyway definitely worth visiting. Turkey easily deserves to have at least 7-10 more WHS and probably 'suffers' a bit from having some similar yet great sites within the same country which would certainly be already inscribed were they in a different country. The WHS in the eastern part of the country offer a much more varied experience almost as if you're visiting 4-5 different countries at once, while the most western part of the country can be a bit repetitive with countless classical archaeological sites one after the other and much more tourists even in pandemic times.

Overall, we really enjoyed our road trip and would love to revisit once new unvisited sites make it on the WH list.

Author Zoe
#27 | Posted: 22 Jun 2021 13:37 
Looking forward to all of your reviews. I saw many great places along the Agean sea but I wonder if many could be combined into a "Temples of the Agean Sea" serial.

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