Roman columns used as apartment decoration in Turkey’s Antalya taken to museum
Salim Uzun – ANTALYA
Two 2,000-year-old granite columns dating back to the Roman era, which previously made headlines after a local used them as an apartment building decoration, were taken on July 3 to a museum in the southern province of Antalya.
Antalya Museum Director Mustafa Demirel said he removed the statutes himself with his hands and carried them to the museum, noting that following the necessary restoration works were undertaken the pieces would be put in the museum garden for exhibition.
Controversy was stirred in Antalya after a local named Mustafa Aydemir was found out to have the two columns in front of his three-floor apartment building. Aydemir first found the columns in Antalya’s historic Kaleiçi district and later transferred them in front of his apartment in the Şirinyalı neighborhood in Muratpaşa district after the Antalya Museum Directorate granted him permission under the condition of protecting them.
“We have protected the artefacts for many years in our house’s garden in Kaleiçi but over the years they have fallen into ruin. We have notified this to the museum [officials]. Twenty-three years ago, with a legislative regulation of the government, we had taken the columns from our garden and placed them in front of our house in Şirinyalı [neighborhood],” Aydemir said.
The incident surfaced when a retired art history teacher named Ertekin Kaya noticed the columns in front of Aydemir’s apartment and reported it on his social media account alongside a photo.
Kaya contacted the Antalya Museum Directorate and the Culture and Tourism Ministry regarding the incident and filed a complaint.
The former art history teacher then received a formal letter from the general directorate of cultural heritage and museums on the issue, saying: “We have ordered the transfer of the in situ artifacts in Kaleiçi to the Antalya Museum Directorate.”
The Antalya Museum Director Mustafa Demirel had previously told daily Hürriyet the authorities would move the columns soon.
“A citizen moved those Roman columns and placed them on the pavement. He obtained permission from the museum director at the time but we will move them after Eid al-Fitr. We had already conducted the necessary work when the issue came to us,” Demirel had said.