Nightclub opening door to Side temple ends up in court

Nightclub opening door to Side temple ends up in court

Salim Uzun - ANTALYA
Nightclub opening door to Side temple ends up in court

A new door of a nightclub directly opening to an ancient temple in the Mediterranean resort town of Side has raised eyebrows.

A restaurant adjacent to the ruins of the ancient city of Side was recently turned into a nightclub named Apollon.

The back door of the former restaurant was redesigned as the entrance of the nightclub, effectively making the venue look linked to the ancient temple dedicated to Anatolian god Apollon and goddess Athena.

The provincial director of culture and tourism in Antalya, Candemir Zoroğlu, has filed a criminal complaint against the Apollon nightclub, which hosted guests on its opening night on May 2.

“There had been some attempts to open a door there, but my colleagues had prevented them. The site director had taken an official statement down. The owners were also warned verbally on the opening day of the venue, but, unfortunately, in the late hours, they reopened the door. After this stage, we will take every necessary precaution,” he said.

A senior archaeologist was dispatched to the scene and law enforcement officers were also notified, Side Museum Director Özay Özgür said. “What has been done is completely illegal. We will never let this door used in this way again.”

Some experts taking part in the archaeological excavation works told daily Hürriyet that the venue also poses other risks to the ancient site.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of them said: “The lightning and the loud sounds could affect antiquities. It also creates a bad image. The bright lights flash around the site that is thousands of years old. They have resigned the whole place like a honky-tonk bar.”

Just before the opening night, some visitors to the ancient site mistakenly walked toward the nightclub.

A 10-meter red carpet was rolled out and a couple of reception desks were placed next to the temple. Wooden railings separating the entrance of the nightclub and the ancient temple were dismantled.

One of the important ancient cities and tourist centers in Turkey, Side’s history dates 2,700 years. Even though archaeological excavations have been ongoing in the city since the 1940s, there are still various historical artifacts lying underground.

Side, which did not have a master plan because it was a first-degree ancient site, was converted to a third-degree urban site in 2013 in order to meet the needs of the residents and prevent illegal construction, and a master plan was prepared for its conservation.

During the works initiated in 2016, while the Manavgat Municipality renovated many streets and squares in accordance with the historical texture, business and building owners demolished their existing buildings and rebuilt them in accordance with the revised master plan.

Within the scope of the works carried out under the supervision of Side Museum and excavation teams and with the permission of the Antalya Regional Board of Preservation of Cultural Heritage, many historical monuments have been unearthed.