New mosaic museum underway
ŞANLIURFA - Anatolia News Agency
Mosaics featuring hunting and fighting scenes of warrior ‘Amazon women’ from the Roman era in the fifth and sixth centuries and unearthed during the earchaeological excavavations in Şanlıurfa, are classified as the world’s most valuable by experts. AA photos
Turkey’s largest mosaic museum is being built where a theme park had been planned in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, one of the oldest cities in the world.
A few years ago, during the foundation excavations for a theme park in the Haleplibahçe neighborhood, mosaics featuring hunting and fighting scenes of warrior “Amazon women” from the Roman era in the fifth and sixth centuries were discovered. Experts have classified these mosaics as the world’s most valuable.
The project was then transformed to include an archaeology museum, archaeopark and mosaic museum, as specialists were concerned that the artifacts being excavated could be damaged if transported to another place.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ordered the acceleration of the project, which will cover an area of 200,000 square meters and cost 38 million Turkish Liras.
‘City deserves this museum’
Şanlıurfa Gov. Celalettin Güvenç told Anatolia news agency that cultural centers, museums and big sporting arenas were the leading highlights of cities, adding that Şanlıurfa’s cultural background merited such a museum. “This museum will be a significant cultural tourism destination. Haleplibahçe will attract Western attention to this city as well as Göbeklitepe. We plan to finish construction work here in 500 days.”
Şanlıurfa Culture and Tourism Director Selami Yıldız said the project consisted of the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum on 26,000 square meters, the Edessa Mosaic Museum on 4,000 square meters and an archaeopark on a 29,000-square-meter area between the two museums. There will also be an amphitheater, cafes and walking areas as well. “We will have the largest museum complex on a 60,000-square-meter area,” said Yıldız.
The Şanlıurfa Museum currently covers an area of 2,500 square meters, but the new museum will be 10 times larger, Yıldız said. “This new museum will display the world’s oldest artifacts. No museum in the world displays 12,000-year-old works. We will exhibit the artifacts that should be exhibited in a closed area.” Yıldız also said Istanbul, Gaziantep and Hatay had noteworthy mosaics. “Now Şanlıurfa will come to the fore.”