Museum to receive facelift for centuries-old mummies

Museum to receive facelift for centuries-old mummies

AKSARAY - Anatolia News Agency
Museum to receive facelift for centuries-old mummies

The museum displays mummified cats and babies as well as a female skull that is known to have had the traces of the world’s first brain operation. The famous Malaklı dog can also be seen in the garden. DHA photo

The Aksaray Museum in the Central Anatolian province of the same name will undergo reorganization at a cost of some 1 million Turkish Liras in order to better display its treasured relics, which include baby and cat mummies dating back 1,000 years.

The octagonal Aksaray Museum, whose architecture was inspired by the geological formations known as “fairy chimneys,” will be reorganized in eight months with a brand new concept of modern museum standards.

A special air-conditioned section with airless glass showcases will be created for the 10 mummies that were discovered in the Ihlara Valley and Çanlı Church in Turkey’s Cappadocia region.

In addition to mummified cats and babies, the museum also has a 9,500-year-old female skull that is known to have had the traces of the world’s first brain operation. One can see the hole that was bore into the skull with medical perfection, though scientific examinations reveal that the woman died 10 days after the operation. It will be displayed in a special exhibition after the restoration.

According to Aksaray Museum Director Yusuf Altın, the museum’s inventory includes 15,230 relics, yet only some 1,300 of them are on display, as the 12,000-square-meter museum’s octagonal shape created some problems in showcasing the pieces. “The problems have been determined with the opinions of officials and scientists and a project has been created,” he said, adding that the project had been delivered to the ministry.

“The project was put in a tender for 1 million liras. The museum will be closed to visits soon. The first floor will be home to archaeological works. This floor will display artwork unearthed during three important excavations, Roman and Byzantine pieces and coins. We will prepare a special section for the museum’s most striking items, mummies. On this floor, the millennial mummies will be shown in glass showcases prepared with the latest technology,” Altın said.

Mosaics on display for the first time

The director said the second floor would display ethnographic artifacts. “Such artworks were not displayed in the past. Aksaray has been a significant center for carpet and kilim weaving. The museum has examples from the world’s most beautiful carpets. We will open them to visits. Also, we found last year a 196-square-meter fresco mosaic during excavations around the Eskil district. We will also display them in a large hall. We are working to establish the largest and richest museum in central Anatolia.”

The corridors of the museum will be designed as a time tunnel and people can journey as far back as 8,000 B.C. “Visitors will also be able to see Aksaray’s famous Malaklı dog in the museum’s garden. They will also view the Ihlara Valley on screens,” Altın said.

He also highlighted the museum’s cat mummy. “It is not known why this cat was mummified; did it belong to an important person or was it because of natural conditions? Experts should work on it,” Altın said.