New Hatay museum unveils original mosaics
HATAY - Anadolu Agency
With the new museum in Hatay, visitors will finally encounter pieces that were previously stored in depots. Apart from transferring mosaics from the old museum to the new one, the current work on the museum includes bringing previously unexhibited mosaics to light after their restoration. AA photoA new museum, which is being built in the southern province of Hatay, known as a historical city of tolerance, and was home to many civilizations in the past, will host previously unseen mosaics.
Due to size restraints, only a limited number of the excavated findings used to be put on display at the old museum in Hatay. With the new museum that will be opened on Sept. 29, visitors will finally encounter pieces that were previously stored in depots. Apart from transferring mosaics from the old museum to the new one, the current work on the museum includes bringing previously unexhibited mosaics to light after their restoration. The ancient settlements of Üçağızlı Cave and the mounds of Tell Tayinat and Aççana are also reconstructed inside the museum.
Restorer Celalettin Küçük, who is responsible for merchandising in the Hatay Archaeology Museum, recently told Anadolu Agency that the construction of the new museum building started in June 2011.
The area, which is 50,000 square meters, has been leased from the Special Provincial Administration as part of a project led by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Noting that the exhibition area of the museum will be 11,700 square meters, Küçük added that visitors would benefit greatly from the intersection of history and technology at the new museum.
Everybody involved in the project, including the archaeologists and construction workers, are working very hard so that the museum will open on Sept. 29, said Küçük. “The first things that come to mind upon mentioning the Hatay Archaeology Museum are the mosaics. While the mosaics in the old museum are being restored, those that were not even on display there will be in the new museum.
Our initial plan is for a mosaics exhibition across 2,500 square meters. This is a long-term project, so other pieces may be included as well. In the old museum there was an archaeologically significant collection of old Hatay coins that was not on display. We are creating a section in the new building for this collection, which will be one of the highlights of the museum,” he added.
Küçük also touched on the design of the new museum. “While designing the museum, we chose several focus points. Through these and with the help of technology, visitors will be able to clearly see the historical progression from 45,000 B.C. through to the present day; they will be equipped with considerable knowledge on how and where people in the past lived and how they used their tools. We will bring to light many impressive pieces that were not on display before. Each of the new mosaics is iconic and special. The new museum will cause a sensation for this reason,” he said.
Pointing out that Hatay’s historically significant geography would positively affect the museum, Küçük added that through their scientific approach to the discipline and the vital pieces they will have on display, they were aiming to make this museum a world-renowned institution and even one of the top five museums in the world. For the restoration of the pieces, teams from universities in the U.S., England, Italy and Turkey are collaborating, he said.
Nilüfer Sezgin, the manager of the Archaeology Museum, said they were still transferring the mosaics from underground to the new museum and that these new mosaics came from regions of Harbiye, Erzin, Kırıkhan, Arsuz and Dörtyol.
Archaeologist Ömer Çelik recently reported that a four-panel mosaic depicting a play by Menander, the most renowned Hellenistic playwright, has been transferred to the new museum and is being restored there. This mosaic was discovered in 1997 and was excavated a decade later. “We discovered that these plays were written 2,300 years ago and depicted on mosaics 600 years after their production, in the third century A.D., by the Romans. We continued excavating in the region in 2009. Through our recent works, we transferred these mosaics, which have the titles of plays and figure drawings on them, from underground where we used to keep them to the new museum. Our teams are currently restoring them,” said Çelik.