Public buildings unearthed in Van’s old city
VAN – Anadolu Agency
New findings have been obtained during excavations being carried out in the south of Van Fortress in the city of Van in southeast Turkey.
The findings have discovered the lifestyles of Ottoman-era residents and Ottoman-era architecture.
Collapsed during the Russian occupation in World War I, the old city of Van is home to many structures, and excavations are constantly being conducted to revive them.
Associate Professor Erkan Konyar, the head of the Van History and Archaeology Research Center at Istanbul University, has led the excavations for seven years.
The structures reveal the unique and well-planned structure of the old city of Van, and excavators recently uncovered ruins of the Ottoman-era municipality, assembly, court and club of retired soldiers.
Konyar said that Van, the ancient capital of the Urartian Empire and one of the most important cities in the region throughout the later Ottoman Empire, was multi-cultured and open to the West. He said Russian ceramics and European accessories were found in Van, which was also a major stop on the Silk Road.
He added that this year’s excavations on an area of 6,000 square-meters had ended. “We as art historians and the Ottoman history experts, have focused on protection and restoration in the last two years. We try to keep the structures alive with passive working method. We will continue until we have a strong protection process,” Konyar said.
Konyar said the old city of Van is planned to be completely revived in collaboration with the Eastern Anatolian Development Agency (DAKA) Van Museum and Istanbul University, and they are working on projects to give a “living city status” to the field.
“We want this place to be livable. If it remains like this, it will be. The excavations are mostly carried out in public areas such as the assembly and municipal buildings. The fact that the old city of Van had a unique and well-planned structure was revealed during the excavations. We saw the internal architecture of the southeast region as we proceeded through the center of the city,” he added.