Troy Museum to be opened soon

Troy Museum to be opened soon

The other day, I came across the book “Troy: For Beginners,” written by Professor Rüstem Aslan who has been heading the excavations in Troy since 2013.

Aslan used to be the deputy to the excavations’ legendary head Professor Manfred Osman Korfmann from Tübingen University.

The professor joined the new era excavations started by Korfmann in 1988 as a student and for 30 years, Troy has nearly become his entire life. He talks about the archeological journey of Troy in his book.

Troy’s archeological journey is set to go for a long time.

I recall that Aslan had told me in 2003 that only 10 percent of the city was unearthed.

His new book coincides with the declaration of 2018 the Year of Troy to mark the 20th anniversary since Troy has been listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Since 2018 was also declared the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the Year of Troy has been under the loop in Europe as well.

Tourism has doubled

A number of activities, national and international is being organized for the Year of Troy under the auspices of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Çanakkale has become the center of cultural, scientific and sportive activities that are being undertaken with international cooperation.

It appears that efforts to turn Çanakkale into a sustainable tourism destination have borne their fruits. The number of visitors to Troy in the first half of the year have doubled compared to last year’s first half.

In the January-June period in 2017, the number of visitors were 136,106, whereas this number has reached 233,643 in the same period this year.

The number can easily reach 500,000 by the end of the year.

To be frank among the “Year of Troy” projects, the one that excites me the most is the opening of the Troy Museum.

The museum was Korfmann’s biggest dream, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 65.

He had told me in 2003 that if the museum were to open, that would enable the artifacts from Troy that have been dispersed throughout the world to be brought from abroad.

Of those, the most famous one is no doubt the Treasure of Troy smuggled by the archeologist Schliemann who had unearthed Troy in the second half of the 19th century. Schliemann had donated the treasures to the Berlin National Museum a short while before his death in 1890.

The Russians then took the treasures to Russia after Berlin fell to their hands in 1945.

The treasures, which have long been a topic of controversy, are also known as Priam’s treasure and are now at the Pushkin museum. I am not sure if they will return to us.

It seems for now we have to resign ourselves with the 24 golden pieces that were returned to us in 2012 from the Penn Museum in the United States.

Expected to be open in the coming days, the project of “Troy Museum” took years to realize.

The competition for the project, which was first voiced by Korfmann in 2003, was initiated by the Culture and Tourism Ministry only in 2011. Some 132 projects had participated for the museum to be set in the Tevfikiye village near Çanakkale. The project that was selected by a jury headed by architect Cengiz Bektaş belonged to Yalın Architecture and the construction started in 2013.

Some 2,000 artifacts are planned to be exhibited in the museum that will have an exhibition hall of 3,000 square meters.

Gila Benmayor, Troy, Çanakkale, Archaeology