The 9,000-year-old city of Catalhoyuk, Turkey, 160 mi/260 km south of Ankara, was once more interesting to read about than to see. Ongoing excavations may eventually prove that urban life had its origins at Catalhoyuk, but, for now, the ruins have fairly limited interest except to history and archaeology buffs (they have none of the grandeur of Ephesus, for example).

The houses at the site, which resemble 2,000-year-old Native American settlements in the southwestern U.S., often doubled as shrines, and the dead were buried beneath clay sleeping platforms. You might even recognize the patterns painted on the walls of some ancient houses—they're the same patterns woven into kilims today. Until excavation is complete, you can watch the archaeological team at work and see the latest finds on display in the site's museum.

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