The ancient city of Ephesus in western Turkey is expected to enter the UNESCO World Heritage List this year, after 22 years of efforts.
Dating back to the 6th century B.C., Ephesus hosts around 2 million local and international tourists every year. Although it has been added to the UNESCO tentative list, along with 37 other sites in Turkey, it has failed to be included in the main list so far.
Selçuk Mayor Zeynel Bakıcı said his district was blessed thanks to its history, culture, nature, as well as many archaeological sites.
Bakıcı added that it was a "great deficiency" that the ancient city had not been on the UNESCO list up to now but said his team "believed the problem will be solved this year."
The first submission to UNESCO was made in 1994 but was rejected in 2000 and failed to later get results.
“It was a great deficiency that Ephesus is not on this list. But we know where this deficiency comes from. This is why we are now collectively working with the Culture and Tourism Ministry, municipality, museum and the excavation team, as well as with academics. Now all the changes and rearrangements that UNESCO had asked for have been done," Bakıcı said.
"We have finished the reconstruction plan for protection and the land management plan has been approved. Unless something very important goes wrong, the ancient city of Ephesus will become a part of the UNESCO World Heritage permanent list. The 22-year-old dream of Ephesus will come true in June,” he added.
Selçuk is home to the 8,500-year-old ancient city of Ephesus, as well as one of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis; the Virgin Mary House; the Church of Saint John, and Şirince village.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News [January 06, 2015]