Millennium-old neighborhood found in Kemah
ERZURUM - Doğan News AgencyExcavation works carried out in the eastern province of Erzincan’s Kemah district have unearthed a millennium-old Turkish neighborhood.
Atatürk University History of Art Department Professor Hüseyin Yurttaş said after discovering Bey Mosque and bath, the team had focused on civil architecture and continued excavations by looking at Evliya Çelebi’s “Book of Travels.”
“We unearthed a nearly 1,000-year-old neighborhood dating back to the Turkic period,” he added.
Excavations started in 2010 at the Kemah Castle in the Kemah district with the participation of Atatürk University’s Yurttaş, Professor Haldun Özkan, Professor Süleyman Çiğdem, Assistant Professor Zerrin Köşklü, academic Lütfü Kındığılı and Gazi University’s Nurşen Özkul Fındık as well as archaeology and art history students. The first findings were the Bey Mosque and a bath.
Yurttaş said unearthing a civil architecture like the one in Kemah, the capital of the Mengujekids, established after Turks settled in Anatolia, was important in terms of the history of Turkish settlement. According to Yurttaş, ornaments found indicate that Bey Mosque dates back to the Mengujekids’ era.
“By looking at Evliya Çelebi’s ‘Book of Travels,’ we unearthed a structure called Bey Mosque. We also found the remnants of a bath next to the city walls of the castle. Then we wanted to learn about the civil architecture. ‘There are some 600 houses inside the castle. One of these houses has a garden and others are adjacent to each other,’ says Evliya Çelebi in his book. Considering this description, we started excavations in the northwest of the castle. We have been working in this field for nearly two years. We unearthed a 700-800-square-meter part. Just like Evliya Çelebi says, we found that the houses are adjacent to each other and located on one or two streets. And some of the houses had floor furnaces. We saw that the structure of the current houses in Kemah was the same with the ones unearthed during excavations. We discovered a millennium-old Turkish neighborhood,” he said.
The professor added further excavations would give more details about the neighborhood “because Kemah is one of the most important Turkish settlements in the region.”