Millennial paintings to be secured with new system
AKSARAY - Anatolia News Agency
The damage from visitors in the churches formed in the Ihlara Valley has been increasing. Local and foreign names, heart shapes and dates written on the millennium-old fresco paintings on the walls of the churches draw too much attention. AA PhotoMillennium-old paintings on the walls of churches in the Ihlara Valley, one of the most important tourism centers in the central Anatolian Cappadocia region, are being damaged by tourists. Now a new camera security system will protect the paintings from visitor graffiti.
Fed by the Melendiz stream and the largest valley in Cappadocia, the 14-kilometer-long Ihlara Valley is home to many carved churches, chapels and living areas. Three different points provide entrance to the valley and it is visited by more than 300,000 tourists a year.
Names, heart shapes in historic churches’ walls
The valley offers one of the most beautiful scenes of the region but the damage from visitors in dozens of churches formed in the valley has been increasing every day. Local and foreign names, heart shapes and dates written on the millennium-old fresco paintings on the walls of the churches have drawn attention.
A camera security system has been set up in the Ihlara Valley to provide security for the churches and prevent damage. Full HD cameras were put in the churches that receive the most damage. A lighting system was also placed on the ground in the churches.
Aksaray Museum Director Yusuf Altın said that it was quite difficult to control the valley because of its natural structure and they had applied to the General Directorate of Cultural Beings and Museums for the establishment of the camera system.
The directorate appointed a technical team and as a result of the work, a security system of 64 cameras had been placed in the valley as well as a security point where the valley and the churches would be monitored by the gendarmerie.
Emergency button next to cameras
Altın said that the damage to centuries-old wall paintings made them helpless.
“People used to draw hearts and write their names on the wall paintings. We were not able to prevent it. There are churches through the 14-kilometer way. You can see every kind of writing on these walls.
It is not only caused by locals but also foreign tourists because we see foreign writing. It is not possible to clean the writing but we have made efforts to restore them. Thanks to this system, we can even hear the voices of tourists visiting the Ihlara Valley. Those taking photos with a flash are warned.
Visitors feel safe with this system. We also monitor the valley from the museum, which is 50 kilometers away. There is an emergency button next to cameras in the churches. It has an alarm in case of emergency and the security team interferes.”
Altın said that the barred gates of the churches were locked after visits, adding, “We can monitor the churches for 24 hours. When someone attempts to damage [something], our teams can interfere at the time.”