Ancient canal to draw tourists to Ephesus
With the completion of a canal project in the ancient city of Ephesus in the Aegean province of İzmir, the region is expected to welcome 10 million tourists a year.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, the mayor of the Aegean district of Selçuk, Zeynel Bakıcı, said the project was created to connect the 8,500-year-old ancient city of Ephesus with the sea. The first tender for the project has already been held.
The ancient city of Ephesus, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a splendid port city in the past, said Bakıcı, adding that over time the front part was covered with alluvial and the distance between the sea and land had reached six kilometers.
He said that the Ancient Canal Project had been prepared to revive the ancient city of Ephesus, which has a great importance in terms of world history and tourism, and that the construction site was delivered to the winning company after the tender.
Bakıcı said that within the framework of the project, which is implemented with the support of the Presidency, Turkish Parliament and the ministries, the six-kilometer canal will be reopened and Ephesus and the sea will meet again.
Stating that boats will pass through the canal, Bakıcı said, “You can think of this place as a museum. People will be able to witness all these beauties when they come here.”
He said they discussed the issue with Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli and machines will soon start working here.
The project will become world-famous, Bakıcı said.
“The end date and cost of the comprehensive project will be determined in the process. Money will be gradually transferred to the project. History will be revived there. This is a great contribution to both our country and humanity. People will be able to travel again under the conditions of the past. There will be a breakwater here. After the completion of the Ancient Canal Project, the ships will be able to travel to Ephesus by boats from Pamucak. We expect an increase in the number of tourists. We think that the number of tourists, which is 3 million today, will reach 10 million.”
Bakıcı said the visitor profile of Ephesus changed after being registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, adding that within the scope of cultural tourism “people with high incomes and more intellectual people began coming to the ancient site.”
“With the new project, their number will increase, too,” he added.
Bakıcı said that it was a two-phase project and they got permission from the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board.
“The bottom will be scanned four meters deep. The scanning is necessary here without harming the existing values and destroying the nature of the excavation. Every digging means a lot here,” he said.
Ancient canal project
The contract for the first stage of the project was signed on March 1 for 35 million Turkish Liras. In the project, the teams will enter the 6,130-meter-long historical canal from the sea, and the expansion and clearance works will be done by amphibious vehicles.
The depth of the 30-meter-wide canal will be five meters. In addition, a highway bridge will be built on the entrance canal in the first stage.
To ensure the access of the yachts, a 600-meter-long and 30-meter-wide entrance channel and a breakwater in the Pamucak beach will be built. The yacht harbor, which will provide short-term parking for boats, will have a length of 250 meters and a width of 100 meters.
In the first phase, 620 piles will be constructed in the area, which is a protected natural site. The walls of the entrance channel will be covered with local stone rectangular blocks in accordance with the historical texture.
In the second phase of the project, cleaning works will be carried out in the part of Ephesus ancient city. The port will be rearranged to the original. One of the gates to the city will be moved to the port.
As in the most glorious period of Ephesus, visitors to the city will enter the port and see the impressive view of the theater when walking on the street.