I was astonished by the Gobeklitepe temples when I first saw them. The oldest temples in the world found so far, they are 7,000 years older than the Egyptian pyramids. Their discovery in 1996 in Urfa, Turkey, changed everything we knew about history and challenged the way we understood human civilization. This striking truth, and the way it forced me to rethink human history from another perspective, drove me to write this novel.
My story starts in Milas, on the Aegean, where the ancient Carian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations once flourished. And it ends in Gobeklitepe, in the Fertile Crescent that nurtured thousands of civilizations. East and west are united at Gobeklitepe, where no human is different from any other.
Gobeklitepe is thought to be the first place where we as humans realized that our power was superior to that of other species, where we started a journey that ended with the loss of our integrity towards nature and towards ourselves. Every human journey in search of truth and existence passes through Gobeklitepe, where the first crops were domesticated and human evolution reached a turning point. The hunters and gatherers of the Gobeklitepe temples whisper the story of humanity, when our faith changed irreversibly as agriculture alienated us from earth even as we depended more and more on it. For those who ask how and where we started, the temples awakened from their millenia-long sleep to remind us that we are not the masters of the universe, only a part of it, and as humans we are all one. The symbols carved on the magnificent stelae tell us a different history… so I followed this call.
The historical happenings in this story are all real, though I had to make some changes to accommodate the story’s structure. Readers can find a detailed explanation of these changes in the author’s note at the end of the book.
My story revolves around people with long distances in space and time between them. I’ve therefore included a historical chronology, a family tree starting from Abraham, and a map showing the locations of the ancient cities in the story. For non-Turkish readers, who may have some diffculty remembering Turkish names, I have also added a character list. For readers interested in beginning their own journey into an understanding of Gobeklitepe and its history, there is a bibliography at the end of the book. And for a photo gallery of the real places where the story takes place, please visit https://yoncaeldener.wordpress.com