July 2020 in Turkish archaeology

Hagia Sophia - the Comnenus mosaic
Hagia Sophia - the Comnenus mosaic

July of 2020 was marked as the month when one of the most precious world heritage assets of Turkey, the former church of Hagia Sophia, was transformed from the museum to the mosque. This highly controversial political move causing an outcry on both domestic and international forums, and raised questions about the future of the building and its wonderful frescoes and mosaics. In other news, the archaeological discoveries in Pergamon pushed back the history of the city by several centuries while excavations resumed in Oylum Höyük on the Syrian border. Finally, Sümela Monastery in the Black Sea region reopened after restoration.

Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for July 2020. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!

July 1, 2020

Excavations start in Roman-era Silifke Castle

The Silifke Castle is perched atop a hill, lying between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, having witnessed several civilizations throughout its existence and standing sturdy until today. With excavation works restarting, archaeologists expect they will offer significant clues on the history of the Silifke district of the southern province of Mersin. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Restoration project to start soon for Sinop Fortress Prison

A restoration of 1.6 million euro ($1,122,405) will be carried out in Sinop Fortress Prison, which was used as a prison in 1887-1999 and opened to visitors as a museum in 2000. Situated above Cape Sinop on the Black Sea coast, the historical place is one of the most important tourism centers of the city and hosts thousands of visitors, especially in the summer season. Source: Daily Sabah

July 2, 2020

New findings to change history of Pergamon ancient city

A bottle and a dress needle were found during the Lower City excavations in Pergamon ancient city which reveals that the region is even older than first thought. Source: Daily Sabah

July 5, 2020

Alaaddin Mosque, a Seljuk-era masterpiece famed for its crown gate, intricate decorations

The Alaaddin Mosque, considered to have been built by Alaattin Ali of Karaman, a bey of Karamanids, during the Anatolian Beyliks era in the district of Korkuteli in Antalya, continues to contain the traces of 700 years of history thanks to restoration works carried out to preserve its original form. Source: Daily Sabah

July 10, 2020

Historic Beylerbeyi Palace, witness of Ottoman-Russian war, regains its former glory

The historical Beylerbeyi Palace, located on the outskirts of the Kars Castle, situated in the center of northeastern Turkey's Kars province, is ready to regain its former glory as a result of three years of restoration work. Source: Daily Sabah

July 14, 2020

Laodicea ancient theater to host events again after 1,600 years

The theater built in the ancient city of Laodicea in Turkey's southwestern Denizli province 2,200 years ago will host a series of art and cultural events as a result of the restoration work to be completed by the end of the year. Source: Daily Sabah

July 21, 2020

1,800-year-old mosaic reveals symbol of Black Sea province

A 1,800-year-old mosaic depicting an apple tree at a museum is welcoming domestic and international tourists seven years after it was unearthed in the Black Sea province of Amasya, whose apple has become symbolic in modern-day Turkey. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Dara ancient city fascinates visitors

The Dara ancient city in the southeastern province of Mardin, which attracts tourists with its cultural and historical structures, has been reopened to visits amid the normalization phase. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

July 22, 2020

How an ancient plant inspired Phaselis ships

For the sailors of Phaselis, an ancient city on Turkey’s southern coast, the inspiration for their watercraft didn’t come from the sea but something far more unique on land. “We think that the shape of [the local bitter vetch] fruit influenced the form of ships unique to the ancient city,” said Gökhan Deniz, an academic with Akdeniz University’s Education Faculty. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

July 23, 2020

Ottoman monument in Hungary receives 2 global awards

An Ottoman-era monument in the capital of Hungary won two awards on July 22 at the 2020 Prix d'Excellence Awards. The Tomb of Gul Baba in Budapest was completely renovated through the cooperation of the Turkish and Hungarian governments in 2018. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Trio Patara concert to revive ancient city

Mentioned as the instruments of gods and angels in mythology, flute and harp, which accompanied funerals, weddings, harvests, religious rituals and dances in ancient Greece and Rome, will be a part of a concert in the ancient city of Patara. The concert to be performed by three artists will take the audience on a historical journey. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Former Seljuk madrassa in central Turkey set for 3-year-long restoration

The 750-year-old Cacabey Mosque in central Kırşehir province, which was used a madrasa to teach subjects that included astronomy during the time of the Seljuks, will be restored in accordance with the recommendations of a specially dedicated scientific board. Source: Daily Sabah

Excavation resumes in Oylum Höyük on Syrian border

Excavation work on the Oylum Höyük (mound), which is located at the zero point on the Syrian border, continues with a team of 20 people, including six academics. This work was initiated in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Gaziantep University, Kilis Governorate and Kilis Municipality. Source: Daily Sabah

July 25, 2020

Turkish police seize 155 historical artifacts

A total of 155 pieces of historical artifacts were seized in an operation in western Turkey, security sources said on July 25. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

July 26, 2020

Historical stone building becomes Hatay City Museum

The history, daily life and culture of the southeastern province of Hatay, dubbed the city of “coexistence,” will be introduced at the City Museum. The museum opened in a historical stone building that served as the Antakya Archeology Museum for 66 years until 2014. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Coronation area not carpeted in Hagia Sophia

A square-shaped area in the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, where the emperors were coronated, was not carpeted to respect historical legacy, Istanbul's top culture and tourism official said on July 25. Carpets specially prepared for the mosque were laid on the areas exempted from restoration works. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

July 27, 2020

Excavations nearly complete at 2nd-century fountain in Turkey's ancient city of Tripolis

Archeologists have completed around 90% of excavation works on a monumental fountain, estimated to date back to the second century A.D., located in the ancient city of Tripolis on the Büyük Menderes River in western Turkey's Denizli province. Source: Daily Sabah

Turkey restores 2,700-year-old Urartian temple

Turkish archaeologists are restoring stone carvings of a 2,700-year-old castle in the country's east. The Ayanis Castle atop a hill overlooking the Lake Van was built by Urartian King Rusa II. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

July 28, 2020

3rd-century statue unearthed in ancient city

Archeologists unearthed on July 27 a 1,700-year-old statue of a female from the Hellenistic period in the ancient city of Perge, now in Turkey’s Mediterranean Antalya province. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Hagia Sophia artifacts to be displayed in separate museum

A historic building, belonging to a regional directorate of the Istanbul Land Registry and Cadastre at Sultanahmet Square, is set to be turned into a museum where all of Hagia Sophia’s artifacts will be displayed. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

July 29, 2020

Sümela Monastery reopened after restoration

The Turkish president on July 28 reopened the country's historic Sümela Monastery in the Black Sea province of Trabzon via video link. Source: Hürriyet Daily News