Neolithic Ruins of Çatalhöyük near Konya, Turkey with Kids

Back in October, we took a quick trip down to Çatalhöyük and Konya. (See blog about Konya here). Çatalhöyük is just under 3.5 hours from our home. It is a very large Neolithic era site that flourished around 7000 BC (and existed about 7500-6400 BC). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The kids were in the process of taking an Outschool class on Neolithic sites of Turkey and the UK and Çatalhöyük was one of those sites. So it was a lot of fun to learn about it, and then take a trip there!

So on the morning of day 1 (we just did an overnight to fit it into a weekend), we drove down and got there about 11 am. The site has 3 main parts: the replica buildings set up like they would have looked then, the museum, and the archaeological dig sites.

We started at the museum. It was small, but I was really impressed with how kid and foreigner friendly it was! Everything was in English and in Turkish and they had lots of kid-friendly signs and things to look for and explanations. The kids were really engaged with the site, especially DD as she could read the signs! But DS also wanted me to read him everything.

Once we went through the museum, we headed outside to the replicas of the homes. They were incredibly cool and also had kid-friendly signs in English and Turkish. Homes in Çatalhöyük were entered from the top from the same hole that smoke came out. However, for the replicas, they added door openings on the ground. They also added windows for light (there would have been no windows then). Families buried their dead under their sleeping mounds and cooked in small stove ovens. They also had small storage rooms attached. We spent a lot of time going through the rooms.

Then we headed up to the dig site. There are two dig sites, but only one was open for visitors (the East Mound). It was not active at the moment, but there were raised platforms to allow us to walk most of the way around it.

We ended the visit with a bathroom break and a picnic lunch. They had picnic tables and what used to be a tiny cafe, but it was closed. I’m not sure if it’s permanently closed or if that was a Covid or seasonal thing. So I highly suggest bringing a picnic! The site isn’t near anything else. Then we headed into Konya, about a 45 min drive. We checked in to the Hilton Garden Inn (very convenient location and parking) and then headed out to explore. See the blog about Konya here.

Practical Information:

Drive: Very easy drive from Konya or Ankara. The last bit is very rural and through farmland, but this pin drop is accurate on GoogleMaps.

Parking: Parking is right before the site and easy to find.

Bathrooms: There were bathrooms behind the guard building to the right as you entered. Bring TP and hand sanitizer.

Food/Drinks: Nothing was for sale when we were there, though there was a small cafe that maybe operates in high season or when there isn’t Covid? There are shaded picnic tables, so pack a lunch/snack and beverages.

Stroller friendly? Most of it is stroller friendly. The museum is all ground floor. The replica buildings are ground floor and a smaller stroller would be able to move in them. Or it is very easy to leave a stroller outside the buildings. It’s a small area and we were the only ones there. The archaeological dig has steps, so probably would need to leave the stroller outside.

Length of Visit: Plan for about 2 hours, less if your kids aren’t inclined to read everything

Cost: It was free with our MuseKart

Further Reading:

Khan Academy

Wikipedia

The ruins’ site

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