Works initiated for concrete structures in Santa ruins
GÜMÜŞHANE – DHA
The Santa ruins archaeological site, located within the boundaries of the Black Sea province of Gümüşhane’s Dumanlı village and dubbed a “hidden city close to the sky,” dates back to the Middle Age.
But concrete structures built illegally by nomads practicing transhumance in the ruins have come under criticism of the Gümüşhane Governor’s Office.
The governor’s office has given time to the owners of the unlicensed structures, which they say are creating visual pollution in the historic field, to harmonize them with nature. But if they do not, the authorities said, they would destroy them.
Established by the Greeks in the 17th century, Santa has seven neighborhoods, with each consisting of single-floor stone houses and at least one church.
But the structures, which reflect Greek civic architecture, have been neglected because transportation to the area is difficult.
In addition, the houses built illegally by the nomadic villagers have been blamed for causing visual pollution in the ancient site.
Gümüşhane Governor Okay Memiş said the Santa ruins had a magnificent history and nature, stressing that the ruins were not unattended.
“Last year we launched a tender for the concrete asphalt of a nearly eight-kilometer-long road from the Taşköprü Plateau to Santa. We will reach this place in 45 minutes when the work is done this season. The travel time will be halved. The road will let us protect the ancient city where the Santa ruins are located. There are two buildings that were built in this field long time ago. We have the court decision for these buildings. According to this decision, the buildings will be demolished or will be harmonized with the nature there. We informed the owners about the decision. We expect that the buildings will be harmonized with the area in the coming days. If not, we will demolish the buildings,” the governor said.
'Unique structure’ should come to light
Coşkun Erüz, the president of the Association for the Protection of Natural and Historical Values and an academic at Karadeniz Technical University (KTU), said the stone structures in the Santa ruins and the region drew people’s interest.
“Apart from 15-20 structures in Santa, the others are not unique Santa houses. Many structures in Santa decayed, some of them collapsed. If the true historical texture of the Santa ruins is uncovered and presented to citizens, the field will remain as a plateau and also become a center of attraction for cultural tourism,” he added.
It is known that Santa, the cultural heritage of the Greek-Pontus state in eastern Black Sea, was built in the 17th century. The structures that were abandoned after the Greeks migrated from the region in 1923 are located in the Dumanlı village, 72 kilometers away from Gümüşhane and 42 kilometers from Trabzon. Home to Greek civic architecture, the Santa ruins were declared an archaeological natural site in 1999. Some 5,000 people lived in the ruins between 1700 and 1900. But they are visited by only a few tourists because of the lack of transportation means.