Historical houses face destruction due to road enlargement in Turkey’s south
Ömer Erbil – KAHRAMANMARAŞHistorical houses in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş are facing destruction due to a road enlargement project, despite officially being protected by regulations.
The demolition of the houses in the Turan neighborhood has started despite the area being an urban protected area and the fact that houses were officially registered.
The Hırlakyan Mansion is among the places that will be affected by the enlargement project in Kahramanmaraş, a province seen as a symbol of resistance against the French during the War of Independence and thus given the title “Hero” (Kahraman) after the war.
The Regional Committee for the Protection of Cultural Assets in the southern province of Adana gave permission for the demolition of historic civil architecture examples in the Turan neighborhood, which it had previously registered.
The road under construction will cross through the protected urban area, with municipality officials saying it is necessary due to the inability of fire department vehicles to enter the streets.
According to a report prepared by the local municipality, the sustaining wall of the Hırlakyan Mansion will be demolished, which could lead to its collapse. Moreover, a 200-year-old pine tree will also be cut as a part of the project.
If the road enlargement project continues, the Arıkan Mansion, which is registered in the second group, will be completely demolished.
The mansion, which is among the most renowned civil architecture examples of the province, was expropriated by the Kahramanmaraş Municipality in order for it to be demolished.
After the ministry’s decision, residents inside emptied the building, which was followed by looting of the door of the building as well as the objects inside it.
Another historical structure that will be badly affected by the road enlargement project is the Şeyh Mosque, which is the oldest mosque in the province. According to the project, the road will pass right alongside the mosque, which was built in 12th century, and experts warn that tremors caused by vehicle traffic will cause irremediable damage to the structure.
Two shops that are key examples of 18th century civil architecture and not registered by the protection committee, located south of the Şeyh Mosque, will also be demolished. In addition, four registered and an unknown number of unregistered civil architecture examples will be destroyed according to the municipality’s.
Meanwhile, street renovation work is also currently underway in the nearby Şehit Ganiyusufoğlu Hayribey Street, which is home to two historical cultural asset buildings.