Treasure hunters destroy historic chapel in Aegean town
A historical chapel, which is believed to be 250 years old, in the Aegean province of Balıkesir’s Ayvalık district, has been destroyed by treasure hunters who took advantage of measures implemented against the coronavirus outbreak.
The chapel, which was destroyed as a result of illegal excavations by treasure hunters, was left behind by Ai Dimitri Monastery, which is considered to be the first settlement of Cunda Island in the district.
Taylan Köken, a history researcher, said that Ai Dimitri Monastery was the first monastery complex built in Cunda and was erected in 1766 with the donation of a wealthy person from Cunda.
“The chapel, which was intact eight years ago, has been heavily destroyed in the last few years in search of treasures and other valuable structures from the late Ottoman period,” Köken said, adding that the destruction was much worse, especially in secluded places.
“This chapel, which has been standing for 200 years, may have been destroyed by the effect of rain when it was excavated for treasure. However, certainly, the building was severely damaged by the treasure hunters until it collapsed and the static state of the building deteriorated,” Köken noted.
Cunda Island, which is one of the favorite tourism spots in the north Aegean region, hosts local and foreign tourists every year with its old Greek houses, many of which are boutique hotels, cobblestones, churches and chapels.