Gate of historic mosque causes restoration scandal in Antalya
Ömer Erbil - ANTALYADuring the restoration of the 800-year-old Alaaddin Mosque in the southern province of Antalya’s Korkuteli district, the structure’s crown gate, a rare example of stone masonry, has been broken into pieces.
It was claimed the crown gate was enumerated and dismantled as its structure was weak, according to an architect involved in the project, but the scene at the restoration area appeared otherwise, with stone pieces of the gate apparently scattered around the area.
Recently, a source revealed the crown gate of the historic mosque was gone. At the site in Korkuteli, it was seen there were no guards or workers present at the historic building, as well as stones thought to belong to the mosque scattered around the area. Some of the stones were numbered while others were not, and there had been no apparent measures taken to protect them.
Newly appointed Antalya General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage Prof. İbrahim Bakır said he would investigate the issue. Bakır said the previous committee’s decision had been to enumerate and dismantle the crown gate for reinforcement.
Mehmet Emin Yılmaz, the architect of the restoration project, said all walls at the site had undergone a statistical analysis, samples were taken from the crown gate’s stones and the decision was taken to reinforce them. He said the qualified stones were taken to storage.
Officials from the Antalya Regional Directorate for Foundations said the restoration project was under the inspection of the Antalya General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage and it was ongoing in line with the committee’s decision, adding that the project had been halted for the winter.
The General Directorate for Foundations officials said they were uncomfortable with the restoration project but the decision of the Antalya General Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage had tied their hands.
Experts said structural reinforcements on the building should be made, adding that it was unacceptable to dismantle a structure which did not completely collapse.