Contribution of Atılım University to Inclusion of Ephesus Ancient City in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List

In the recent days, the Ephesus Ancient City was included in our cultural heritages that entered into the UNESCO’s World Heritage List from Turkey together with Diyarbakir’s City Walls and Hevsel Gardens. With the inclusion of Ephesus, the number of sites of Turkey inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List has increased to fifteen. It is of beneficial to know that Atilim University has had also significant contributions in this process. The “Administrative Plan”, which is one of the most important studies required to be completed for inclusion of Ephesus Ancient City into the World Heritage List, was prepared through a 3-year study by a specialised team led by Assoc. Prof. Savaş Zafer Şahin, who is the Vice Dean of the Management Faculty of our University, the Faculty Member at the Political Science and Public Administration Department and has also an Msc degree in Urban Planning. Having awaited to enter into the list since 1994 together with the administrative plan constituting an entirety with the dedicated file preparation study of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ephesus Ancient City was included in the World Heritage List.  

Following entry into effect of the administrative plan, which had been prepared for Ephesus Ancient City’s administration site comprising Ayasuluk Castle, St. Jean Basilica, Çukuriçi Tumulus, Virgin Mary House and many other assets and had been also approved by the Advisory and Coordination-Supervisory Boards of the site mid-2014, the evaluation of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which was one of the most important stages for the World heritage site nomination of Ephesus, was also completed successfully. For this purpose, an expert assigned by the UNESCO World Heritage Center visited the site, carried out on-site examinations and interviewed with the stakeholders of the public sector, non-governmental organisations and private sector at the site between September 23, 2014 and September 27, 2014. Having been hosted with the hospitable attitudes of the Excavation Presidencies, Selcuk District Governorship and Selcuk Municipality, the expert of ICOMOS evaluated Ephesus’ status of preparedness to be a World heritage site as regards the administrative and protection practices. In order to form a basis for this evaluation, the experts of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the the officials of the Excavation Presidencies and Selcuk Municipality, and Assoc. Prof. Savaş Zafer Şahin, who took part in preparing the Ephesus Administrative Plan and is the Faculty Member at Atilim University, provided comprehensive information to the expert. Later, the nomination of Ephesus as a World Heritage Site was decided at the World Heritage Committee meeting held in Bonn, Germany in mid-2015.

Assoc. Prof. Savaş Zafer Şahin had previously conducted researches on “Monitoring of World Heritage Sites” together with Assoc. Prof. Gül Güneş and Assist. Prof. Emel Akın within the scope of a Scientific Research Project at our University with respect to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and prepared a feasibility study with the support of Ankara Development Agency for the nomination of Ankara City as a World Heritage Site in 2010. With his publications, he also announces his studies in this field to the public. The fact that the World Heritage Committee will convene under the chairmanship of Turkey in Istanbul in 2016 increases importance of the activities necessary to be carried out on these issues in our country.