Massive damage in tomb, church in Hatay

Massive damage in tomb, church in Hatay

Massive damage in tomb, church in Hatay

The Bayezid-i Bistami Tomb and the St. Pavlus Orthodox Church were both severely destroyed during the Feb. 6 earthquakes in Hatay.

The 2,000-year-old tomb in the Kırıkhan district is located in a high area, all the stones of the destroyed tomb fell due to the effect of the earthquake and blocked the roads leading to the tomb.

Speaking to daily Hürriyet, İsmail Bağ, the imam of the tomb, which is located in a first-degree protected area and receives some 1,000 visitors daily, said, “The entrance of the tomb, the fountain inside, and the aqueduct have been largely destroyed. The balcony parts that were added in 1886 completely collapsed. The tomb itself is also badly damaged.”

Bağ said that he talked to the General Directorate of Foundations and they said that they have the original drawing of the tomb and that it will be repaired and return to its old days in a short time. The structure, which was used during the Crusades in the Middle Ages, has been serving as a mosque for 1,200 years.

The 123-year-old St. Paul Orthodox Church, located in the center of the Antakya district of Hatay, was also one of the structures that collapsed during the earthquake. The street, where the church is located, was completely ruined and only a few surviving drawings on the walls and the church bell that fell to the ground can be seen around.

The construction of the St. Pavlus Greek Orthodox Church on Hürriyet Street started in 1830, and it was badly damaged during an earthquake in 1872. The church was rebuilt and opened for worship in the 1900s.

Huge mosaic intact

The world’s largest single-piece mosaic in the Hatay Museum Hotel, which was built on the Necmi Asfuroğlu Archaeology Museum in Antakya, remained intact in the earthquake.

The Hatay Museum Hotel, which was established to preserve the archaeological remains unearthed during a construction excavation in Antakya in 2009, did not get damaged in the earthquake. No artifacts were damaged in the museum, where minor cracks and small glass fragments can be seen on some plaster ceilings.

The museum’s director, Ayşe Ersoy, said that they rushed to the museum with all the employees in the morning and saw that the situation was not as bad as they anticipated.

Stating that right after the earthquake, she and all the employees started to keep watch to ensure the safety of the artworks, Ersoy said, “On the second day, additional security forces came from the museums in other cities to the museums here. As part of the current disaster action plan of the museums, restorers came to the museum and collected all the movable artifacts in the Hatay Archaeology Museum. Necessary controls have been made. Our museums were not badly damaged. We decided to replace all plaster ceilings in the earthquake zones. The world’s largest single-piece mosaic was undamaged. Some damages that occurred during the earthquakes in 500-600 A.D. can be seen on it. However, the mosaic remains strong after this earthquake.”