The 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş that struck on February 6 caused widespread destruction and lost thousands of lives in 11 provinces, while dozens of cultural assets were destroyed or damaged.
Malatyaof the symbolic structures of Teze (new) mosqueWhile nearly 30 cultural assets, including .
“OUR AIM IS TO RESTORE HISTORICAL ITEMS WITHOUT LOSS”
The head of the Harput Citadel Excavation, who was appointed to determine the cultural assets affected by the earthquake in Malatya, Prof. Dr. İsmail Aytaç said: “After the 6 February earthquakes, our Ministry of Culture and Tourism immediately went to on site and started studies with different teams on the detection and status of cultural assets. Current situations in particular were quickly identified by many teams. In addition, our ministry has assembled teams for the ruined cultural assets and assigned us to the field. As the Harput Citadel excavation team, we had to re-examine the very worn or destroyed structures in Malatya and Elazig. We prepare documentation and forward-looking reports so that movable cultural assets are not lost in existing structures. Our goal is to restore these historical artifacts in the future with existing artifacts without any loss. In the future, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism will have the current projects drawn up by the relevant units and will try to transfer these cultural objects to the city silhouette and to future generations. In that sense, like many teams, we try to do our part.”
“NEARLY 30 CULTURAL FEATURES IN MALATYA AFFECTED BY THE EARTHQUAKE”
Aytaç stated that they are conducting studies across the city as a team and said, “About 30 cultural assets have been identified in Malatya. We have identified 5 artifacts that have decayed or whose architectural plastic values need to be saved. We have completed our work on this in Old Malatya and today we are working on Yeni (Teze) Mosque. This is where we made our due diligence. Tomorrow we will go to Doğanşehir and try to identify the works. We’re transferring all the information from this to the Malatya Museum, the portable one. As the teams work on other works, they will pay attention to it with the reports we have, and they will prepare a restoration project accordingly.
“It turned out that the mortar USED IN THE NEW MOSQUE IS NOT QUALIFIED”
Aytaç stated that the Yeni Mosque was able to survive despite being exposed to many earthquakes, saying, “The New Mosque was left unfinished before the 1909 earthquake and then moved on. Despite many earthquakes, it has survived to this day. In the 2020 Elazig earthquake, part of the dome collapsed and the restoration was completed by our ministry. Looking at the current state of the pile, we come across the fact that the mortar was not of very high quality in the state in which it was first made 120 years ago. As my foresight I think it can be dismantled to the solid part of the existing walls and then restored with solid materials and binders. The mosque, which stands in the middle of the bazaar, is, of course, the symbol of Malatya. It is one of the rare religious architectural works of the 19th century, which was planned in the form of four iwans with a central dome. It is famous for the poetry in its epitaph and attracts attention with its water system, which is still under development. Therefore, it is important that the New Mosque, one of the most important works of our religious architecture at the beginning of the 20th century, is built as faithfully as possible as a place of worship. Turkey has sufficient knowledge and personnel for this. I think the budget will also be allocated, hope we can see the mosque open for worship soon. The question of time is beyond me, and the relevant units will surely return the structure to Malatya,” he said.