Republican-era house in ancient city to serve tourism in west Turkey

Republican-era house in ancient city to serve tourism in west Turkey

MUĞLA – Anadolu Agency
Republican-era house in ancient city to serve tourism in west Turkey

AA photo

A building completed during the Turkish republican era, located in the 2,300-year-old ancient city of Stratonikeia in the western province of Muğla and included on the UNESCO Tentative List, will be restored and used for touristic purposes. 

The ancient city of Stratonikeia, located in the Eskihisar neighborhood of Muğla’s Yatağan district, is home to many artifacts dating back to the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Selcuk, Ottoman and republican periods. 

Excavation works are still ongoing in the ancient city, while the 19th century “Bılla House” will also be restored. 

The restoration has been initiated by the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums and will open when the work is done. 

The head of the Stratonikeia excavations, Professor Bilal Söğüt, said excavations were ongoing in the ancient city while historic structures were also being revived. 

Some of the surviving structures are landowner houses, known as “aga houses,” said Söğüt, adding that the Bılla House was one such house. 

“The century-old house is located in the ancient site. The historic tissue there is still kept alive as a whole. The ancient city was used in the classical era and later reorganized in subsequent eras,” he said. 

Söğüt said people gathered in the area of the house during ceremonies in the ancient city. 

“The assembly building located right next to the house has the names and prices of all products sold in the Roman era on its walls. There is the calendar of Stratonikeia inside the building. Behind are an Ottoman-era house and the Bılla House, which was completed in the Republican era. That is why this site is very important to us, as it is a complex that includes Hellenistic, Ottoman and Republican era structures,” he added.

Söğüt said they planned to finish the restoration work by the end of the year. 

“I hope we will finish the work. Here we are restoring the houses and also using them. Visitors of the ancient city will be able to see how historical structures have been kept alive up to today,” he added. 

Houses survive with their story

The house is known for its famous pink color, said Söğüt. 

“‘Bılla’ means ‘older sister.’ To be an older sister, you need to be a landowner. The owner of the house is still alive today, and this house is known for its pink color in the village. Behind this house was a two-storey summer movie theater. While landowners were sitting in the terrace of the house, they watched films with citizens. According to people who stayed in this house, they were drinking soda water and eating sunflower seeds when watching film. It was one the most popular foods in this era. As well as restoring the structures here, we keep them alive with their story. Because these stories give soul to the structures,” he added.
Söğüt said the structures that were unearthed in the ancient city of Stratonikeia would “take visitors on a journey” thanks to 3D technology. 

“We have revived many spots in the city with 3D technology. We are also reviving the area of the Bılla House with 3D and gravure drawings. We will open them to visitors soon,” he added.