Traces of ancient life at Hatay Archaeology Museum
HATAY – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotosThe Hatay Archaeology Museum, which opened in its new location nearly a year ago, takes its visitors on a journey with its interesting atmosphere and avant-garde technological systems.
One of the world’s largest museums, the Hatay Archaeology Museum is home to a total of 36,858 artworks, including 18,818 archaeological pieces, 989 ethnographical pieces, 15,044 coins, 1,509 seals, 423 tablets, two archive documents and 73 codices.
On a land of 56,000 square meters on the Antakya-Reyhanlı highway in southern Hatay province, the museum itself covers an area of 33,000 square meters. The museum’s first stage is currently open to guests, while the second stage is still under construction.
The museum’s display area follows a chronological order. Mythological events begin with a display of the Üçağızlı Inn before the Christian era features scenes from daily and natural life.
Home to artifacts ranging from the Stone Age to present time, the museum also has interactive presentations. The entrance hall of the museum displays 3D presentations and summarizes the archaeology of Hatay, which has been home to many civilizations throughout history.
Hatay Archaeology Museum Director Nilüfer Sezgin said the museum has hosted many locals and visitors from neighboring cities in its new location, adding they had received a very positive reaction from visitors.
“There has been continuous life in Hatay starting from the Paleolithic era to the present day. We try to display the reflections of all these things in our museum. We tell the adventure of human beings beginning thousands of years ago. We have made an inn animation here; there is a mound at the exit of the inn. People feel like they walk on the mound. Then we tell the story of the transition to settled life; we placed artifacts showing individualization and the development of the concept of possession. Visitors are able to see these historical artifacts closely inside modern showcases. We receive very good reactions,” she said.
More mosaics in the second stage
Sezgin said with the opening of the first stage, 40 percent of the museum was now open to visitors, with the second stage set to be finished in 2017.
She added they had limited space to display mosaics in the former museum.
“We displayed some 800 square meters of mosaics in the former venue. We were the second [largest] museum in the world [in terms of mosaics on display] after the one in Tunisia. But then the Zeugma Mosaic Museum opened in Gaziantep and it became the largest in the world. Of course Zeugma is a source of pride for us. After Zeugma [opened], the Culture and Tourism Ministry realized this project. Currently, we display mosaics on an area of 1,400 square meters but only the first stage of the museum is finished. When the second stage is finished in one-and-a-half years, we will place 1,200-1,300 more square meters of mosaics. In this way, we will have more mosaics than the ones at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum.”
Sezgin said the museum would also contribute to tourism in Hatay, which is the richest in Anatolia in terms of archaeology.
She said Hatay had been preferred by many civilizations throughout history thanks to its location and climate and was very rich in terms of archaeology. “Ongoing archaeological excavations in the city will make the museum richer,” she added.