Ancient gate now ‘brand new’
In the 800-year-old Alaaddin Mosque built in Seljuk style in the southern province of Antalya’s Korkuteli district, the restoration of the crown gate has been finished. The ancient gate, which was rebuilt from scratch with new stone, is now “brand new.” Many of the decorations and motifs of the historical gate, which are considered as masterpieces, are now missing.
Korkuteli Alaaddin Mosque, considered to be one of the most important buildings of Anatolian principalities, went under restoration in 2015.
As part of the restoration, the mosque’s crown gate, which is unique in terms of art history, was also planned to be removed and reconstructed.
Mehmet Emin Yılmaz, architect of the restoration project, said that all the walls had been examined statically, samples were taken from the stones in the gate, and it was decided to be removed and reinforced. Stones from the gate were reportedly taken to a warehouse for safe storage.
However, during the restoration, numbers were placed on some of the stones of the gate, but they were arranged randomly on the road. The crown gate of the Alaaddin Mosque - one of the important works of Anatolia and known for its resemblance to the crown gate of the Divriği Darüşşifa, which is on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List – is gone.
Hürriyet announced the news with the title, “Restoration scandal in Antalya,” on Jan. 14, 2016.
Antalya Regional Directorate of Foundations claimed that with the decision of the Antalya Protection Board, the gate was dismantled and the stones were numbered, arguing that the unique stones were taken to the warehouse. However, on the same date, the stones of the crown gate were distributed around the mosque and were exposed to all kinds of natural conditions. There was no guard against people who wanted to take away the stones.
Following the scandal, the Antalya Regional Directorate of Foundations opened an investigation into the company that carried out the restoration and removed it from the tender.
On March 16, 2017, the restoration of the crown gate was awarded to another company for 480,000 Turkish Liras. The company was given 10 months to finish the job.
The restoration was finished in the beginning of this year but there was nothing from the old gate. Recently, we went to Korkuteli to see the final product of the crown door’s restoration, and we were stunned by what we saw.
The crown gate, restored with new stones, completely lost its originality, and many of the distinctive decorations and motifs were gone. The gate, which was dismantled for static reasons, was rebuilt. The 800-year-old crown gate, once described as an “art masterpiece of Anatolian history,” now welcomes visitors as brand new.