Minister Günay puts Konya’s cultural heritage in spotlight
KONYA - Anatolia News Agency
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay visits Alaaddin Keykubad’s summer palace near Beyşehir River in Konya as well as the Eşrefoğlu Mosque, which has recently a been added to the world heritage list. DHA Photo
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay has visited Alaaddin Keykubad’s summer palace near Beyşehir River in Konya and also the Eşrefoğlu Mosque, which was recently added to the world heritage list.
“We have seen a very good developments about the Eşrefoğlu Mosque, and we have succeeded in adding the mosque to the Temporary List of World Heritage,” Günay said, adding that when he became culture minister Turkey had 18 items on the world heritage list, but that there are now 38 artifacts on the temporary list of world heritage.
“I have seen many palaces and mosques in the world, however, this mosque means a lot to me,” Günay said. The ministry will try to protect the cultural heritage and the surroundings of the mosque, the minister added.
Konya’s ancient settlement of Çatalhöyük has also entered the World Heritage List.
31 million visitors in 2011
Noting that there are many hopeful developments in Turkey in terms of arts and culture when compared to 40 years ago, Günay said: “After the AK Party came to power, in 2003 a total of 13 million foreign visitors came [to Turkey] and last year 31 million [visitors came]. … Turkey is a very nice country. We have problems… but our land, our people, our nature and our history are a truly beautiful resource.”
While Günay also examined the Selçuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad’s summer palace in Konya, he attended the Golden Donkey Gülmezce award ceremony in the Akşehir district. Günay also visited a local Armenian Church, an ethnography museum and the East Military Quarters, which is located in the center of the town. Günay then moved to the Taş Madrasah, and then received information about the artifacts at the Seyyid Mahmud Hayrani Shrine.
The ongoing excavation work at the Keykubad Palace also drew the attention of the minister. He was given information on the excavation work from the excavation president Dr. Rüçhan Arık. Günay also talked to journalists and said the land was the center of the Eastern Roman Empire in Anatolia.
Noting that the excavation work tried to make the artifacts alive again, Günay said, “We have been trying to bring Selçuk artifacts to the fore over last few years. Ottomans were a part of the Balkans, but the Selçuks were all about Anatolia.” Günay also revealed that over the next few years they would try to put Alanya on the world heritage list.
During his visit in Konya Günay also visited the Eflatunpınar Monument. Günay said he had visited the Hittite monument in 2010, and added that it was one of the most original monuments in Anatolia.
“Two years ago this area was a mess, it was polluted and the monument could not be seen. However, the excavation team worked here and the monument was cleared of plants,” he said. “When people hear the term restoration they think that everything will be fake. However, we are trying to maintain the original artifacts.