Necropolis area in Antalya becomes cultural center

Necropolis area in Antalya becomes cultural center

Necropolis area in Antalya becomes cultural center

A 2,500-year-old necropolis unearthed during the construction of a cultural center in the southern province of Antalya in 2008 will become a museum, adding to the province’s rich array of ancient venues.

The necropolis, having caught archaeologists off-guard in 2008, caused changes in the initial culture center project.

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Antalya Metropolitan Municipality official Bedrullah Erçin said a different project was prepared after the discovery, adding, “The project was presented to the approval of the Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board for at least eight times and initiated the current project.”

The project covers an area of 9,136 square meters and will allow tourists to see the 2,500-year-old necropolis, said Erçin, adding that the construction works will be finished in February but archaeological excavations will continue.

He called the new project a “living museum.”

“Visitors will be able to tour the necropolis area on walking routes. Historical documents will be displayed in the area and there will also be a conference room. There are tombs that have not been excavated yet between the cultural center and the necropolis; works will continue there. The restoration of the tombs, archaeological excavations and exhibition activities will simultaneously continue in the area. We can say that this is a different project for Antalya and Turkey,” he added.

Erçin said the Eastern Garage Culture Center will include a big theater and a conservatory, and the artifacts unearthed from the necropolis will be displayed on the Ali Çetinkaya Street in the region. He said the museum is set to open in March.

The project costs 20 million Turkish Liras, with the Antalya Governor’s Office set to cover 13 million liras of the cost.

[HH] Nearly 1,000 tombs

Mehmet Şengül, an Antalya Metropolitan Municipality Necropolis Museum official and archaeologist, said the area belonged to the necropolis of the ancient city of Attaleia.

He said they unearthed nearly 1,000 tombs, adding that each tomb has more than one burial and some even has 300,400 burials.

Şengül said the area was declared a first degree archaeological site after the discovery of the necropolis, and that the region has a history of 2,500 years. But, he said, they found artifacts dating back to the 4th century B.C.

“There were human skeletons, gifts and archaeological tools in the tombs. They were removed and some are on display at the Antalya Archeology Museum. The rest are kept in storages. When the museum is open, these will be taken there. We will place the imitations of the skeletons and artifacts here for visitors to see when they walk. The original will be in the closed display area,” he said.