New steel roof to protect Zeugma mosaic in Şanlıurfa
GAZİANTEP – Anadolu Agency
Construction has been completed on a new roof to better protect the ancient city of Zeugma, famous for its Gypsy Girl mosaic, and located on the shore of the Euphrates River in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
Zeugma is found in the Belkıs neighborhood, which is home to Roman houses decorated with magnificent mosaics from the second and third centuries. Excavations in the ancient city have lasted for almost 48 years.
Many artifacts, including the Gypsy Girl mosaic, which had faced the risk of remaining underwater during the construction of the Birecik Dam, are now on display at the Zeugma Museum.
The artifacts unearthed during the excavations of the Muzalar House, a Roman villa on top of the ancient city, are being protected in their original place, which is now open to visitors.
The construction of the roof has been carried out by the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Directorate for the Inspection of Conservation Implementations (KUDEB). Thousands of locals and foreigners visit the site every year, despite the weather.
The new roof prevents heat but still allows a well-lit environment, protecting the mosaics from damage.
KUDEB President Serdar Murat Gürsel said Gaziantep was a historic city and home to many historical structures.
He said ancient Zeugma was one of the most important cities at the time and was considered a trade gate to Mesopotamia.
The artifacts had been severely damaged by rain and heat after they had been unearthed, said Gürsel.
The KUDEB president said the previous roof had not protected the artifacts and had only acted as a shadow over them.
The construction to complete the new roof took 60 days, and afterwards, visitors could see the artifacts closely.
“There were serious problems with the previous roof over the mosaics. The structure is larger than 2,000 square meters. We have completely changed the roof to prevent rain, heat, and cold. We have constructed a steel roof and covered it with metal, so it lets the sunshine in but not the heat,” said Gürsel.