Drought causes Seljuk-era inn to emerge from dam
KONYA – Anadolu Agency
The ruins of an 816-year-old Seljuk inn have emerged from the waters of the Altınapa dam, which provides drinking water to the Central Anatolian province of Konya.
The water level in the Altınapa dam has declined as a result of a drop in rainfall, allowing the Seljuk-era inn to reappear above water after being forgotten in the past decades.
The Altınapa dam was built in the 1950s on the Meram streamlet to provide drinking water. But after it began operating, the Seljuk inn submerged.
Drought causes inn to emerge
The 816-year-old inn emerged prominently during summer last year because of the drought.
Ahmet Çaycı, a professor of history of art at the Necmettin Erbakan University, told state-run Anadolu Agency that Altınapa Inn was among the oldest monuments from the Seljuk period, adding that it served people for centuries.
“The Altınapa Inn is one of the oldest sites of the Seljuk period. An ancient document about it mentions a statesman from the Seljuk era who built monuments,” he said, adding that the date 1201 was cited in the document.
“Therefore, it is possible to date back its construction to earlier times. It is located in a very strategic point. It is an important visiting point. It was left under the water of Altınapa Dam, which was built in the 1950s. Depending on the season and the amount of rainfall, it is left underwater in certain years and reappears from time to time. But the inn is left to its fate. So far, no initiative has been taken,” he added.
‘Must be renovated’
According to Çaycı, the structure reflects typical architecture of the Seljuk period, as it is a closed building and has an open yard.
He said the historic inn was multifunctional in its heyday.
“The inn was primarily built in order to provide security. Besides hosting guests, it also provided haven for merchants. It is a foundation institute. It must be renovated,” he said.
He added that the inn is easily recognizable when water levels drop in the dam, located near the Konya-Beyşehir highway.
“In the summer, there is a period of drought. This year, however, it has had the most drought. The site is totally visible, its surroundings are open. Three years ago, it was completely underwater. Only its vault was visible. It submerges or reappears depending on the level of rainfall. Although it looks like it survived, it does not have much strength. The site must be renovated and can be placed somewhere else,” he said.
“Otherwise, it would not be possible to protect it. As long as there is a dam there, the inn faces the risk of collapse. It can be used like an underwater museum. But this is costly and requires long works. We see 50 to 60 years of destruction because of the water; it has corroded. It may not last very long. But it can be exhibited from start somewhere else,” he said.