Hatay’s new archaeology museum almost complete
The new museum covers an area of 50,000 square meters with a 11,700 square-meter display area. Some 5,000 square meters will be devoted to mosaics alone. DHA photosThe construction of a new archaeology museum has been continuing since June 2011 in the southern province of Antakya. The Antakya Archaeology Museum will have the world’s largest mosaic display area. As works are set to finish in the coming months, most of the artwork from the former museum has been moved into the new one.
The museum, which covers an area of 50,000 m2, has 11,700 m2 display area and 5,000 m2 of it belongs to mosaics. The changes from 45,000 B.C. up until now will be on display in the museum. The museum is also home to the likes of Üçağız cave, Tell Tayinat and Aççana mounds.
During a recent visit to the completed parts of the museum, a 1.5-meter-long statue of King Suppiluliuma, which had been found during excavations headed by Professor Timothy Harrison, drew great interest from guests. The king ruled Tell Tayinat in the 9th century B.C. and carries a spear and a spike in his hand.
Hatay Governor Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz said some of the artwork was on display in the former museum because of a lack of space. He said 65 percent of the new museum had been finished and ready, and that it would be the world’s largest mosaic museum in terms of its size.
He said that some of the mosaics had been kept in depots under suboptimal conditions. “This museum will have the largest mosaic display area in the world. It has a 5,000 m2 area for mosaics. At the moment, 971 m2 mosaics are on display. Also, those in the depot of the former museum will be restored and put on display. There are also artifacts, whose places have been identified underground, but not unearthed. We will carry out excavations to unearth and display them,” the governor said, adding that the museum would boost Turkey’s tourism and cultural value.
The Archaeology Museum Director Nilüfer Sezgin said the new museum would display never-before-seen pieces of art. She said the moving process is continuing. She noted art was on display in an area of 800 m2 in the former museum and it would increase to 5,000 in the new one.
The area, which is 50,000 m2, has been leased from the Special Provincial Administration as part of a project led by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Among the items in the new museum is a four-panel mosaic depicting a play by Menander, the most renowned Hellenistic playwright. It has been transferred to the new museum and restored there. This mosaic was discovered in 1997 and was excavated a decade later.