Cultural mobilization starts for Hatay

Cultural mobilization starts for Hatay

Cultural mobilization starts for Hatay

Preparations are underway as Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry is preparing to establish a coordination center, where historical heritage preservation activities will be carried out. The ministry asked universities to send any information, document, research, thesis, picture, etc. about the quake-hit city of Hatay in an attempt to reconstruct the life and cultural texture there again.

Seven experts from abroad have arrived in Türkiye and participated in the work to revive the cultural heritage.

Gökhan Yazgı, general director of Cultural Heritage and Museums of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, stated that they had completed the examination of 5,877 registered immovable cultural assets so far.

He emphasized that a technical team of 37 people, consisting of art historians, archaeologists, architects and civil engineers from nine different universities in Hatay, continues to work within the body of the Disaster Excavation Department.

Yazgı stated that the excavations had been completed for 63 registered artifacts in the first stage, and continued:

“In these places, 265 artifacts, including epitaphs, decorated stones, icons, pieces of altar and pulpit, wooden door wings, ornamented mosaics and ceramics, were taken out of the rubble and taken into custody after the inventory work. Also, five separate teams consisting of 173 experts continue their detection work in other provinces affected by the earthquake. We don’t have any stolen items. All our works are under protection.”

Yazgı also noted that they decided to build a museum of earthquake memory in Hatay, where they will declare an area of 307 hectares as a disaster area. He said that they aim to preserve the historical and cultural memory of Hatay as it is.

Sinan Aksu, general director of Foundations of the Culture and Tourism Ministry stated that they are working together with the bureaucracy and academic environment in Türkiye to restore 678 damaged foundation works.

“We have initiated a great work that there will be no historical buildings in Türkiye that do not have a survey. Most of the important works in the cities had surveys and information. Now we will have the surveys of all the historical texture in the country,” Aksu said.

Among the most important cultural heritages of Hatay that were severely destroyed during the Feb. 6 earthquakes are the Bayezid-i Bistami Tomb and the St. Pavlus Orthodox Church, along with the Hatay Parliament Building, one of the symbolic structures in the city.

Massive earthquakes also destroyed the first mosque built on Anatolian land, the Habib-i Neccar Mosque, which was built in the Antakya district and was conquered by the Muslim Arabs in 638.