Prehistoric is the period when humankind was still in cradle. Many cultures that later on will give birth to great civilizations were now starting to form. All around the globe, each produced a very rich artistic demonstration, which marked them in the passage of time for all eternity. Today, we would like to share with you 5 sites to visit while in Europe and Turkey:
- Skara Brae, Orkney Archipelago, Scotland: This is the most well preserved Neolithic village in Europe. It was not of great size, 8 dwellings make the whole of the village. Yet, what makes it remarkable is the way it was built-the houses, even the furnishing inside are made completely of stone slabs. This unique building technique was due to the lack of wood for building and the abundance of stone, instead. The population of this “Scottish Pompeii” made a living from fishing. Today, Skara Brae is protected by UNESCO and welcomes visitors to marvel of this simple, yet sophisticated way of life;
- Chauvet Cave, southern France: we all know about the wonderful cave art of Altamira and Lascaux, since they have been discovered more than century ago. Chauvet is the newest cave with wall paintings, yet it surpass the age of the previous two. Typical for this cave are the drawings made in grayscale and the attempt for perspective. Again, the main theme is the animal hunting: these caves were the sacred places of the people living nearby. It is assumed than only shamans and hunters had access to them and that the animal drawings were part of the rituals that were supposed to grant them successful hunting season. The problem with such cave art is that the colors used for painting are completely natural, so the art can be damaged by many visitors; so the access is limited for researchers only. Solution: they make authentic copy of the whole cave, art included. Good news, the copy of Chauvet Cave is to be open for visitors in this summer of 2014;
- Lepenski Vir, border between Serbia and Romania: situated in the Djerdap Gorge of the Danube River, this culture existed in the period between the Old and the New Stone Age. Every inch of the limited space near the river bank was put to use, by developing a geometrical, almost urban grid. The houses followed the shape of the human body, as they buried their beloved undet the house’ hearth. Being fishermen themselves, they worshiped the river and re-created their river deities in stone. Today, these very remarkable sculptures can be seen in the nearby reconstruction of original site; which was flooded with the creation of a river dam;
- Çatal Höyük, Anatolia Region-Turkey: the meaning of the name of this site is “Forked Hill.” People settled this proto-city during the New Stone Age. Up to date, it is the biggest and the most well preserved site of the prehistoric period in the world. The houses had flat roofs and due to the close proximity of the houses, they formed plazas and working place for the inhabitants. The houses themselves were with two floors, each furnished and decorated lavishly with wall paintings. They worshiped the bull, as a symbol of male principle, strength and power; the world’s oldest shrine decorated with bull skulls were found. As typical for the time, they buried their beloved under the house, as to keep them close to the home. Protected by UNESCO, this site is still researched and opened for visitors via organized tours, summer schools and workshops;
- Göbekli Tepe, Anatolia Region-Turkey: the so-called Potbelly Hill, near the border with Syria, is the place where the oldest temple built by humankind was found. Though its existence is known since the 1960s, it was not excavated till 1994. They found a round structure made of stone slabs decorated with engravings, probably images of the gods they worshipped here; the vultures are predominant in the renderings. The dating goes to the 10th millennium BC, making it older than Stonehenge by several millennia. The most astonishing about it is that this holy ground predates the living in settlements. So, the people who built it were still living as nomads, yet their religious devotion connected them enough to gather and built this place. The temple at Göbekli Tepe was most probably a gathering place, where rituals and festivities happened several times in the year. The excavations are still on-going, though on very small scale. We hope that its gaining popularity will lead to better infrastructure and touristic conditions.