Save the Legacy

Southern Türkiye is abundant in richly textured monuments and multicultural traditions. It houses the oldest known life-sized human sculpture and Early Neolithic structures thought to be the world’s first temple. This region is the “cradle of human civilization,” containing the birth place of prophets of three world religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – whose adherents have lived in coexistence for centuries. And now the rich cultural heritage that has defined this region is at risk and needs our urgent protection.

The earthquakes in southern Türkiye on 6 February 2023 and the days that followed killed at least 50,700 people and destroyed more than 313,000 buildings. They left 3.3 million people homeless across 11 provinces with a territory of 110,000 sq km and a population of 15.6 million.

After the earthquakes, millions of people are still living in temporary shelter, most with only rudimentary services. The region’s economy is in ruins; businesses that managed to survive the earthquakes are suffering from a debilitating labor shortage caused by the exodus of up to five million people whose return depends on the restoration of decent living conditions.

In addition to the thousands of lives lost, homes and buildings destroyed, the earthquakes have also taken from southern Türkiye a priceless legacy: monuments and structures from the past, destroyed by the devastating force of the earthquakes. From ancient civilizations to restored Ottoman era market places and arcades still in use, the earthquakes damaged or completely destroyed 3,752 out of 8,444 historical structures across the 11 provinces.

This loss extends far beyond monetary value. Their preservation is not only vital to Türkiye’s rich cultural mosaic but also crucial for the sustainable development of the region and our shared future. In the face of such devastation, restoring our cultural heritage emerges as a pivotal step towards bringing our communities back, rebuilding lives and restoring livelihoods.

Cultural heritage is the heartbeat of our communities, important for our identity and for our souls. It is a binding thread that brings us together, creating a sense of connection between the past and the present. Its safeguarding is a powerful antidote to the traumas inflicted by disasters. By preserving both tangible and intangible heritage, we pave the way for the revival of age-old practices, traditional crafts, and life as it once was.

Today, we call upon you to stand with us. Let us unite to save our shared legacy. Your contribution is not just a donation; it is a commitment to bringing the mosaic of civilizations that define our cultural identity back together again. Your donation will support the revival of the region’s cultural heritage and help these communities to actively rebuild and to thrive. Be a part of this global response – donate now and help to build the cornerstone of southern Türkiye’s post-earthquake cultural heritage recovery endeavor to SAVE THE LEGACY.


Donate Now to Save the Legacy

UNDP