Ancient stones serve as tourist site

Ancient stones serve as tourist site

MUĞLA - Anadolu Agency
Ancient stones serve as tourist site

Architectural blocks and broken stones found in the ancient city of Stratonikeia are taken to the ‘Stone Hospital,’ while a team of 15 people is working on restoring the stones available for use. The stones are then sent to museums. AA photo

Broken ancient stones that have been unearthed during excavations in the ancient city of Stratonikeia in the northwestern province of Muğla have been restored to serve as a tourist site. The ancient city was one of the most important cities in the Karia region and made its mark from the Bronze Age to the Republic Period. 

Archaeological excavations in Stratonikeia, which is one of the world’s largest marble cities, commenced in 2008 and have taken place every year for nine months with a team of nine people. 

Excavations continue to be carried out while conservation works on the theater, gymnasium, Roman baths, the Augustus and Empire Temple are still ongoing. Meanwhile, broken ancient stones are being documented by archaeologists and kept for future generations with works carried out in the “Stone Hospital.”

The ancient city of Stratonikeia’s architectural restorer, Ufuk Denizli, said that they were working on restoration of the ancient city with a team of 15 people, calling the area where they work the “Stone Hospital.” He said that the architectural blocks and broken stones found in the ancient city were taken to the hospital, adding, “They are initially documented by archaeologists in the ancient city, then the restoration team starts working on the stones available for use and they are cleaned. We give priority to the blocks that will be used in the restoration. Then we attach the pieces to each other. Especially for big blocks, we use an epoxy, a very strong glue.” 

A big restoration project
Denizli said that some stones were strengthened with methods that were used in the ancient times. He said that the stones were found during excavations in the 3,000-year-old ancient city. 

“We are planning a big restoration project in the area of the gymnasium. We are now attaching the broken stones as preliminary preparations. Among the structures, whose restoration still continues in the city are the temple, theater and the gymnasium. We architecturally restore nearly 150 blocks in a year. By breathing life into the ancient stones and keeping them ‘alive’, I hope that we will be to restore them to their former glory and revive the structures, where these blocks belong to, soon.” 

Denizli said that the restoration was an expensive and lengthy process, “Even though work may seem to be progressing slowly, we are actually carrying out very important works. We will see the change in the face of the ancient city of Stratonikeia in a few years. Thanks to the restorations of the city, there is an annual increase of visitors every year.”