New Istanbul Metro station to open in Beşiktaş after excavations are completed
ISTANBULSubway construction in the Istanbul district of Beşiktaş will start if archaeological excavations in the area are completed by the end of the year, Mayor Kadir Topbaş said on Aug. 29.
Topbaş was speaking during a visit to the site of archaeological excavations near the planned site of the Beşiktaş station on the Kabataş-Beşiktaş-Mecidiyeköy-Mahmutbey subway line.
“The station will go 35 meters deep. We will be able to do it once all archaeological findings are determined underground. We hope these archaeological works will be completed by the end of the year, so the subway works will not be handicapped,” he said.
Topbaş, given information about the works by Istanbul Archaeology Museums Director Zeynep Kızıltan, said previous excavations at Yenikapı had revealed a history dating back 8,500 years.
“Istanbul’s history is being rewritten. The city was previously said to date back 4,000 years but the Yenikapı excavations found traces from 8,500 years ago. This is very important for the city’s history, culture and civilization,” he said.
“In Yenikapı, a project that will turn the station into a ‘museum station’ is currently at the tender phase.
This is very exciting. I believe it will become a significant tourism destination. There are similar ones around the world but ours is the oldest one. That is why it is very important for us,” Topbaş said.
“Now we have started archaeological excavations at the Beşiktaş station on the 24.5-kilometer Kabataş-Mahmutbey subway line. Excavations started in 2016 in parallel with a proposal from the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board No. 3, and are being carried out by the Archaeology Museums Directorate. This place was once a field of a subway station. The archaeological diggings cover an area of 800 square meters. There are traces from the 19th century in its layers but when we go deeper we unearth findings from the early Iron Age in 1,200-800 B.C,” the mayor added.
The archaeological works cost the municipality around 10 million Turkish Liras to carry out but the findings are worth it, Topbaş stated.
“We need the museum to continue works non-stop and finish them as soon as possible. Then we can start subway construction here. As long as the works continue, the subway line will be delayed,” he said.
Neolithic Age findings
A number of 19th and 20th century remains have been unearthed during the construction of the Kabataş-Beşiktaş-Mecidiyeköy-Mahmutbey subway line.
Just like on the banks of the Bayrampaşa Stream in Yenikapı, there was a Neolithic age settlement around the Ihlamur Stream in Beşiktaş and officials believe the finds will fill the “historical gap” between 6,500 and 3,000 B.C. in Istanbul.
The Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board has stated that the findings do not need to be protected in their original place and has ordered their removal after scientific drawings and recordings are completed.
The excavations are expected to provide brand new information to shed light on the history of Istanbul, especially the Bosphorus Strait, which cuts through the city and divides it between two continents: Europe and Asia.