A 550-year-old historic shrine in Hasankeyf has been moved before the area is flooded by the Ilısu Dam in the southeastern province of Batman, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The Zeynel Bey Shrine was moved from its original location to the Hasankeyf New Cultural Park Area.
The massive shrine, which is a symbol of Batman’s Hasankeyf district, was moved in a single piece thanks to a newly produced rail system and the laying down of a special asphalt. At least 50 people, including engineers, were on duty to aid in the moving process.
The moving process started at 7:45 a.m. and ended at 11:35 a.m. on May 12 when the shrine was installed in its new location two kilometers away.
All the procedures for the shrine are expected to take a total of three days.
Police and gendarmerie forces took security measures during the moving process, flying drones in the area.
The gendarmerie also used detectors and specially trained dogs to search for any possible bombs.
The preparations for the moving of the historical shrine took two years and necessitated the creation of a special platform with at least 150 wheels. Concrete measuring a depth of one meter was poured below the shrine before it was transferred to a platform with its concrete base by hydraulic cranes.
Speaking during the process of moving the historic shrine, Turkish Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu said they would move eight other artifacts.
“The shrine will be located before Friday prayers. On Monday, the final touches will be made. Europe
was against this dam. But we will move eight other artifacts. This will set a model for the world,” he said.
The dam project is controversial because it will inundate areas of southeastern Turkey, destroying priceless archaeological heritage.
Meanwhile, Vahap Kusen, the mayor of Hasankeyf, said he was experiencing joy and sadness at the same time.
“The moving of this historic shrine which will be submerged makes us happy. But we see it as a flower that was broken off from its twig because other artifacts will be submerged by dam water. I wish all artifacts could be moved. On the other hand, we get a chance to show off an artifact which remains from our ancestors to the next generations,” he said.
The Zeynel Bey Shrine is the only work left by the Aq Qoyunlu tribal federation left in Hasankeyf. It is believed that Zeynel Bey was the son of Uzun Hasan, the ruler of the Aq Qoyunlu, but that he lost his life in the Battle of Otlukbaşı (1473), which took place between the Aq Qoyunlu and the Ottomans.