Local plays songs on quake-hit street

Local plays songs on quake-hit street

Local plays songs on quake-hit street

An antique dealer on Hatay’s Kurtuluş Street, known as the world’s first illuminated street, has opened his damaged workplace to play nostalgic songs on his cassette player with a hope that it might help boost the morale of the grief-stricken people.

Following the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş, and 6.4 and 5.8 magnitude earthquakes in Hatay, the Antakya district, which has been home to many civilizations for centuries, is one of the regions with the most destruction.

Most of the buildings on Kurtuluş Street, which was frequently visited by wealthy people from the Middle East in its golden age during the reign of King Herod and was the first illuminated street in the world, were also destroyed.

Formerly known as Herod Street, Kurtuluş Street was home to many historical buildings under protection and now fell into silence among the dust cloud of the ruins.

Affan Coffee, where tourists as well as locals taste the city’s unique Haytalı dessert and drink coffee, Habibi Neccar Mosque, Sarımiye Mosque, a Catholic church and Jewish synagogue were among the best-known places on the street.

Now the silence on the street is broken by a cassette player from an antique shop. Antique dealer and real estate consultant Mehmet Sercan Sincan, who has cleaned around his workplace with his friends to erase the traces of the earthquake, started to boost the morale of the people by playing nostalgic songs.

Stating that he lost many of his relatives and friends, Sincan said that life has to go on. “We don’t count the days anymore, but mourning lasts three days. We want life to begin again,” he said.

Stating that his life has always been a struggle since the earthquake, he said: “We are waiting for our death, but we don’t cry because there are so many orphans and helpless people right now. We have to survive for them.”

“We continue to help people. When they ask for help, we go into their homes and collect their valuable things and money after ensuring our safety. God has given us more responsibility in this process,” he said.

Saying he will do his best to restore the street as soon as possible, Sincan said: “Hopefully, we will open our workplaces again in a month. This is a tourist street and will be the same again. Music feeds the soul, and I always play music in my shop. It is a sign that life goes on.”