Kayseri's carved rock sanctuary to become art gallery

Kayseri's carved rock sanctuary to become art gallery

KAYSERİ - Anadolu Agency
Kayseris carved rock sanctuary to become art gallery

The rock-carved sanctuary in Kayseri has a unique style of architecture in the region, according to officials. The venue will turn into a museum and art gallery to display classical artworks. AA photos

Tol Mabet (sanctuary) in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri’s Talas district, which is famous for its historic mansions and underground richness, will become a museum and art gallery, where classical works will be displayed. The sanctuary is a carved rock one and dates back to 1,700 years ago.

Talsa Mayor Rifat Yıldırım said that the rock-carved place, which is located on Ali Saip Paşa Street, has a unique style of architecture in the region.
Yıldırım said that they estimated that the sanctuary dated back to the third and fourth century B.C. and it had undergone restoration many times to strengthen the structure. He said they had worked meticulously to restore the sanctuary and expose it to tourism.

Built for safety

“Most probably this place was an underground city built for safety,” Yıldırım said, and continued: “Arrangements in the structures show us that it served as a church in history. This is a very strong structure. We see in this sanctuary what humans can do by carving rocks. It was built with a magnificent mathematical transaction. As a result of long-time work, we prepared a restoration project. It was an abandoned place before the restoration. We won an award from the Union of Historical Towns. The restoration took nearly four years. This is a magnificent structure built completely with hand workmanship. This is why the restoration was very detailed.”

Yıldırım said that the use of such structures should not go against the purpose of its structuring, and continued:

“This is a sanctuary and needs respect. It should not be seen as a commercial enterprise. Considering it, we have decided that this place should be home to culture and art events. We will make an art gallery to host calligraphy, ornamentation and marbling works. Artistic performances will be staged here. We also estimate that there are some hidden structures under this sanctuary. We have not reached them yet but I think we will. We restored the neighboring structures of the sanctuary. It had a cost of nearly 1 million Turkish Liras.”

Yıldırım said that Talas also had many historic structures just like Tol Mabed since Greeks, Armenians and Turks had lived in the district together through centuries and left a rich heritage.

“We also plan to bring Talas to tourism because every year many tourists from Athens come to Talas with tour companies because Greeks immigrated to Greece from here as a result of the population exchange. They visit the land of their ancestors. We will make use of this opportunity more,” he said.