Ancient castle of Kayseri to become art, culture center
KAYSERİ - Anatolia News Agency
The construction of the castle, which has features of Seljuk sultanate architecture, started in the time of Roman Emperor Gordion III. Firstly the castle was used for the security of the artery of commerce and the city, then in 1950s it was used as a market house and finally today it was used as a marketplace. AA photosThe symbol of Kayseri, a 2,000-year-old castle, will host arts and culture events with the project of the metropolitan municipality. The demolition of the stores in the historical castle has started within the context of the project, which will cover an approximately 12,000-square-meter area.
The construction of the castle, which has features of Seljuk sultanate architecture, started in the time of Roman Emperor Gordion III. Firstly the castle was used for the security of the artery of commerce and the city, then in 1950s it was used as a market house and finally today it was used as a marketplace with stores and craftsmen. The castle, built initially by the Byzantines, and expanded by the Seljuks and Ottomans, is still standing in good condition in the central square of the city. The Grand Bazaar dates from the latter part of the 1800s, but the adjacent caravanserai (where merchant traders gathered before forming a caravan) dates from around 1500. The town’s older districts (which were filled with ornate mansion-houses mostly dating from the 18th and 19th centuries) were subjected to wholesale demolitions starting in the 1970s. The city is famous for its carpet sellers, and carpets and rugs can be purchased ranging from new to 50 or more years old.
In the fourth century, the city became central to early Christianity when St. Basil the Great established an ecclesiastic center here. It remains a Roman Catholic titular see and was the seat of an Armenian diocese.
The castle, which has become synonymous with the Kayseri city center, is being restored as an arts and culture center for the city. In the scope of the project, the stores of the craftsmen are being transferred to Hunat Bazaar and the demolitions have started.
Mayor Mehmet Özhaseki said the project they have started for the Kayseri Castle to turn into an arts and culture center has begun with the demolitions of the concrete buildings. Özhaseki said the construction and demolition are done very carefully so as not to ruin the historical structure of the castle.
A museum for Kayseri
Özhaseki said they had been working on this project for a long time. “We are going to build an archaeological museum for Kayseri three floors below the ground. The agreement about the archeological traces in the old museum with the Ministry of Culture has been made. Also other traces that they could not exhibit in the old building will be shown in the new museum. On the upper floors of the castle, there will be places for exercising Turkish Islamic arts and modern arts. Places where one can listen to music or eat good meal will be prepared without ruining the 2,000-year-old history. We are going to make the creation magnificent.” The social life of the city will experience a recovery. Approximately 12,000 square meters of the castle will be awakened with the project, said Özhaseki. “The historical Kayseri Castle will be reborn with this project and will have a very different look after all the work. This arts and culture project is the stepping stone to one of the important projects of the metropolitan municipality, the “Culture Road Project.”