Ancient city of Germanicia victim of illegal housing
It has been revealed that the existence of the ancient city of Germanicia, which was discovered during an illegal excavation in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş in 2007, was known 73 years ago but the ruins of the ancient city were destroyed by illegal construction.
Yunus Emre Kaçamaz, the president of Kahramanmaraş Chamber of Architects, stated that 17 buildings remained, and one mound belonging to the ancient city was clearly seen in an aerial photograph of the region taken in 1948.
“If we were more careful in 1948, we might have been visiting this place as an open-air museum right now,” he said.
Kaçamaz recently made some examinations in the ancient city, which was found in the first century, but only its remains from the fourth and sixth centuries have been unearthed so far in the excavations.
Kaçamaz, who also visited the Germanicia Mosaics, which was opened to visitors in two different regions, encountered 1,500-year-old columns covered with moss in one of the houses in the region. Ali Akbey, the owner, stated that the historical columns were unearthed during the foundation excavation of his uncle’s house and that some of the columns were used as stones in the construction of the garden wall.
Stating that the ancient city of Germenicia is significant in terms of tourism, Kaçamaz said that the authorities should start a new and different work in the region as soon as possible.
“When we look at the aerial photographs taken in 1948, we can see the ruins of the ancient city of Germanicia in the photographs. If we had acted more carefully in 1948, we might have been visiting this place as an open-air museum with column heads and churches. And now there has been an unbelievably illegal construction. The Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Environment and Urbanization Ministry should support this place, and we should turn the region into an open-air museum as soon as possible with expropriations. There are too many illegal structures here. This needs to be resolved as soon as possible,” Kaçamaz said.
Located in the Dulkadiroğlu neighborhood, the ancient city was discovered in 2007 during illegal excavations. The registration, expropriation, excavation and preservation works have still been ongoing to uncover the ancient city that spans over a 140-hectare area, including the neighborhoods of Namık Kemal, Şeyhadil, Dulkadiroğlu and Bağlarbaşı.
In 2014-2015, a walking platform was built around the mosaic area with a temporary protection wall and roof. After restoration and conservation processes were carried out on the mosaics, the area was opened to visitors for free.
The social life in the era was featured by mosaics, which covered the floors in the late Roman era. The mosaics entered the archaeology literature in the multi-language publication of the World Mosaic Unions and increased the importance of the region.