Turkey takes steps to protect heritage

The addition of the Turkish city of Bursa and its historical Cumalıkızık district to the UNESCO World Heritage List last month has seen various archaeological experts demanding the nation's beautiful cultural heritage is sufficiently protected against mass tourism.

Various educational bodies and concerned individuals have spoken out, claiming the government must take steps to ensure measures are put into place to this effect, to avoid the fate that has befallen other ancient sites damaged by 21st-century visitors.

Professor Neslihan Dostoğlu, head of Istanbul Kültür University’s Architecture Department, was among those making comments.

"A balance must be achieved between attracting tourists keen to visit Turkey’s classical heritage and protecting ancient sites from being harmed," he argued, adding he hoped a more controlled and conscious protection of the areas would take place under the United Nations body.

Local communities have become increasingly vocal about the protection of their heritage after a Mayan temple in Tikal, Guatemala, was almost destroyed by tourists flocking to the area for an 'end of the world' party.

However, Mr Dostoğlu has higher hopes for ancient sites in possession of a UNESCO designation as carers are ordered to submit a report every five years to the committee over the condition of the site.

"One has to offer a management plan to UNESCO while applying," he added.

Turkey is among the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of UNESCO sites, with some 13 ancient areas coming under the prestigious designation.

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