The ancient city of Ephesus in western Turkey has been inscribed to the World Heritage List of the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).
The World Heritage Committee welcomed Ephesus in Aegean coastal Izmir province as the 15th property from Turkey onto the list during the 39th session held in the German city of Bonn on Sunday afternoon.
It followed Saturday's inauguration of Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir province as new entries into the list.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Permanent Representative of Turkey to UNESCO Ambassador Huseyin Avni Botsali -- who headed the Turkish delegation at the session -- described the unanimous approval of Ephesus as a great success.
"In fact, we have a great responsibility on our shoulders in terms of cooperation of the international community in this field. We will make significant efforts for protection of civilization values and cultural properties," he added.
Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik celebrated the development in a series of Twitter posts.
"We have just received the second good news from Germany. Ephesus is now officially a world heritage," he wrote.
The minister stressed that Ephesus had always been a key port city, as well as being a cultural and commercial center, throughout history.
"A principal city of science, culture and art of its era, Ephesus had been a residential area starting from the pre-historic era and through the Hellenistic, Roman, Eastern Roman periods and also under the Ottoman Empire for about nine millennium without interruption.”
Minister Celik also maintained that Ephesus is a place the status of which the whole world agreed as a mutual cultural heritage, being among the top touristic destinations in Turkey with around 2 million visitors per year.
In a later interview with Anadolu Agency, Celik made a point about the Deash threat to world heritage in neighboring countries like Syria.
"While a terrorist group called Deash destroys cities, it is a significant message against this barbarism that Turkey as a Muslim country in the Muslim world managed to put its properties on the World Heritage list," he said.
Late May, Daesh militants seized the Roman ruins at Palmyra world heritage site in Syria's central Homs province, which dates back to the 1st century and boasts architecture representing mixed cultures, according to the UNESCO.
The UNESCO has the following description promoting Ephesus:
“The Temple of Artemis, which was considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is situated on the edge of this small town. The city which was situated at the beginning of the Persian Royal Road has survived sufficiently enough to enable us to understand the ancient way of life in Ephesus. It is one of the cities which played an impressive role in the beginnings of Christianity and during the period of its proliferation (St. John Church and the shrine of the Virgin Mary). It contains one of the most spectacular examples of religious architecture of the Seljuk Period.”
Turkey took its first place on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1985 with Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia and Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi -- both in central Turkey -- and the historic areas of Istanbul.
The Hittite capital Hattusha was added to the list in 1986, which was followed by Mount Nemrut in 1987, and Hierapolis-Pamukkale and ancient city of Xanthos-Letoon in 1988.
In 1994, the city of Safranbolu was approved as a world heritage while the archaeological site of Troy was added to the list in 1998, Selimiye Mosque and its social complex in 2011 and the neolithic site of Catalhoyuk in 2012.
The latest entries in 2014 were Bursa's Cumalikizik village which witnessed the birth of the Ottoman Empire and ancient city of Pergamon and its multi-layered cultural landscape.