May 2021 in Turkish archaeology

Monastery of Mor Gabriel in Midyat Province
Monastery of Mor Gabriel in Midyat Province

May 2021 saw the realization many excavation projects in Turkey, including the ones in Troy, Aizanoi, and Kadıkalesi. Moreover, the historic town of Kemaliye in Erzincan Province and the Late Antique and Medieval churches and monasteries of Midyat in the southeastern province of Mardin were added to the UNESCO's Tentative list of World Heritage.

Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for May 2021. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!

May 1, 2021

Museum of ‘Karun Treasures’ in its calmest days

The Karun Treasures, a priceless collection of 432 pieces, including a winged seahorse brooch, which was stolen twice before and smuggled abroad, are now on display at the Uşak Archaeology Museum, awaiting visitors. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Excavations in Anatolia’s two ancient sites shed light on history

Excavation works carried out in the archaeological site of Troy in the northwestern province of Çanakkale, and the ancient city of Aizanoi in the Aegean province of Kütahya shed light on their 5,000-year-old history, according to a report by state-run Anadolu Agency released on April 29. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 3, 2021

Ottoman sultan’s iconic portrait donated to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

A rare 16th-century portrait of Suleiman the Magnificent, the longest-reigning Ottoman sultan, has been donated to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality by an anonymous buyer after it fetched a hefty 350,000 British pounds ($481,000) of sale price in an auction in London last month. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Two more Turkish cultural assets inscribed on UNESCO list

The historic town of Kemaliye in the eastern province of Erzincan and the Late Antique and Medieval churches and monasteries of Midyat and surrounding area called Tur Abdin in the southeastern province of Mardin have been added to the UNESCO’s list, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said in a statement. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Anatolia’s first village Aşıklı Höyük reveals brain surgery

Aşıklı Höyük – the first known village in Central Anatolia where hunters, gatherers and nomads settled – sheds light on the central province of Aksaray's dusty pages of history. Situated alongside the Melendiz Stream in the Cappadocia region, the settlement mound reveals the very first examples of many social and scientific activities, from brain surgery to mining. Source: Daily Sabah

Istanbul's Esgher Synagogue to become library after restoration

The 19th-century Esgher Synagogue, located at the beginning of the Golden Horn, the famous waterway and inlet, has recently been added by Beyoğlu Municipality to a list of historical sites in Istanbul set for restoration. Source: Daily Sabah

May 4, 2021

Municipality buys historic Istanbul building, vowing to make cultural space

A 113-year-old historic building located on Istanbul’s historical peninsula and that stands out with its distinct architectural structure has been bought by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ancient medallion displayed at museum

A 1,500-year-old golden medallion depicting a figure of Jesus Christ has been displayed at a museum in Turkey's northern province of Çorum. The medallion was found by treasure hunters in illegal excavations in 2017 and was seized by a successful anti-smuggling operation of the security teams. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 5, 2021

Ancient city of Perge to regain its former glory

With more than 100 columns revived during the ongoing restoration works, efforts are being made to bring the ancient city of Perge, one of the most organized Roman-era cities in Anatolia, back to its former glory. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 6, 2021

Virgin Mary Church needs road to be reached

The Virgin Mary Church, located next to the Selime Cathedral in the Ihlara Valley, the starting point of Cappadocia, does not attract as much attention as other places in the region, as it can only be reached by walking on a difficult road. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Roman temple in Mersin waits to serve tourism

The Donuktaş Roman Temple, believed to have been built in the 2nd century A.D. in the Tarsus district of the southern province of Mersin, is waiting to serve tourism. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

13th century tombs found in Aydın

Almost a thousand-year-old tombs and human bones were found in the archaeological excavation and restoration project work carried out in Kadıkalesi in the district of Kuşadası in Aydın. Experts date the discovered tombs to the 13th century. Source: TRT Haber

May 7, 2021

Karatape Aslantaş ready for tourism season

The Karatepe Aslantaş Open Air Museum and National Park is preparing to host local and foreign visitors in the new tourism season, offering rich cultural history and splendid views of nature. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Turkey’s Troy, Odunpazarı museums receive prestigious EMYA awards

Turkey’s famous Troy Museum and Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM) were presented with special commendation awards at the European Museum of the Year Awards (EMYA) online ceremony which was held on May 6. Organized by the European Museum Forum and hosted by the Yeltsin Center in Russia, candidates from 2020 and 2021 were presented with awards at the ceremony. Source: Daily Sabah

May 8, 2021

1,800-year-old church in southeastern Turkey being restored

An ancient, Roman-era church in southeastern Turkey is being restored to once again welcome visitors. The 1,800-year-old St. George Church in the Diyarbakır province served as an art gallery after being first restored in 2008. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 11, 2021

Ancient masks draw interest in Myra

Roman theater masks in the ancient city of Myra, located in the Demre district of the southern province of Antalya and one of the most visited and income-generating archaeological sites in the region, continue to attract the attention of visitors. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Prehistoric tombs found during excavations in Istanbul’s busiest square

Kurgan-type tombs dated between 3000-3500 B.C. have been found during the ongoing excavations carried out by the Istanbul Archaeology Museums in an area where a metro station will be built in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Yunus Emre’s divan found in Vatican archives

A new divan of Yunus Emre, one of the most important figures of Turkish-Islamic folk thought, has come to light in the digital inscriptions shared by the Vatican Library over the internet. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 18, 2021

Bayburt museum welcomes European Museum Award

Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum, which was established by businessman Kenan Yavuz in his village in the northern province of Bayburt, has been awarded the 2021 European Museum of the Year Silletto Award by the European Museum Forum (EMF). The award was welcomed by the city’s residents. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Edirne's Sultan Bayezid II Complex to shine with UNESCO listing

Edirne is a city rich in Ottoman history from renowned 16th-century architect Mimar Sinan's famed Selimiye Mosque to the Old Mosque constructed in the 1400s, but perhaps one of the most interesting historical heritages of the charming northwestern Turkish town is the Complex of Sultan Bayezid II, which is now on its way to being included on UNESCO World Heritage Permanent List. Source: Daily Sabah

Study Suggests Roman Marble Production Was Highly Efficient

According to a statement released by Johannes Gutenberg University, researchers led by Cees Passchier employed software usually used for 3-D modeling geological formations to examine pieces of marble recovered from a second-century A.D. villa in Turkey’s ancient city of Ephesus. The thin sheets of green-veined cipollino verde quarried on the Greek island of Euboea were used as cladding to decorate the walls of a room in the villa. Source:

May 19, 2021

Archaeologists find mysterious structure in ‘Land of the Blind’

Turkish archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a structure, estimated to have been built in the 3rd century B.C., during an excavation in Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa, a historic train station on the Asian side. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 20, 2021

Ottoman-era factory in Istanbul up for sale

The first match factory of the Ottoman Empire, built by French experts in the 19th century in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece district, was put up for sale by shareholding families for 70 million Turkish Liras ($8.3 million). The factory, which has been idle for many years, was registered as a first-degree historical monument by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in 1991 and was taken under protection. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Journey through historical events at Hisart Live History Museum

The Hisart Live History Museum takes visitors of all ages on a journey through the pages of history for six years with its numerous artifacts and sections dealing with historical events. Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency on the occasion of Museum Week, Nejat Çuhadaroğlu, the founder of the museum in Istanbul’s Çağlayan neighborhood, told the story of the museum. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish team creates solution that preserves ancient structures

Preservation of historical structures is a must for the survival of history and culture, and it is also a challenging process. In order to make preservation easier, many novel and varied methods are being attempted in archaeology. Recently, a new technique was developed at Kayseri University in the form of a solution that protects historical buildings from corrosive external factors, such as wind and rain, that has yielded positive results in trial applications. Source: Daily Sabah

Turkish archaeologists find 2,400-year-old monument at Haydarpaşa

Istanbul's historic Haydarpaşa Train Station has been known to be somewhat of an archaeological heaven for a while as numerous excavations on the site have piece by piece revealed the history of the city's famous Kadıköy district, once known as the “Land of the Blind.” The most recent finding to be unearthed is a structure dating to the third and fourth centuries B.C., which makes it the oldest structure at the site so far. Source: Daily Sabah

May 21, 2021

Excavations to resume on Giresun Island

Archaeological excavations will be carried out again after four years with a team of archaeologists and art historians on Giresun Island. Officials have also made applications to UNESCO for the inclusion of the island, located off the northern province of Giresun, in the Temporary List of World Heritage. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Museum displays skeletons of vertebrates

The Vertebrate Museum at the Trakya University (TU) Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, displaying hundreds of specimens from reptiles, birds and mammals, draws the attention of people with its great biological diversity. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

7,000-year-old 'Stargazers' host visitors in Turkey’s Izmir

Awe-inspiring marble statuettes carved by Stone Age sculptors in Anatolia 7,000 years ago, called the “Stargazers,” are on display in the western Turkish province of Izmir. Calling the Izmir Archaeology Museum home, the statuettes that gaze up at the sky stand out with their distinguishable features, including their peculiar ears and noses. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 22, 2021

Aspendos attracts celebrities, visitors

The ancient city of Aspendos, which attracts attention with its architectural structure in the southern province of Antalya, offers history and nature together. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Visitİzmir available online

A mobile tourism app, Visitİzmir, covering 30 districts, 11 categories, and 2,300 locations in the western province of İzmir, is now accessible to the public. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 24, 2021

Istanbul’s museum home to unmatched Ottoman painting collection

A painting museum on the shores of Istanbul’s Bosphorus is home to an Ottoman palace painting collection that continues to draw visitors despite the pandemic. Following a multi-year restoration project, the National Palaces Painting Museum in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district was reopened by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in January. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

2,400-year-old tomb artifacts attract visitors to Turkish city

Artifacts dating back 2,400 years recently discovered in southwestern Turkey's Muğla province are now being exhibited at a museum, attracting both local and foreign tourists. Source: Daily Sabah

May 25, 2021

Hittite-era inscription discovered in Konya’s Karaören Village

A Luwian hieroglyphic inscription from the Hittite era discovered in the Karaören Village in the Central Anatolian province of Konya’s Emirgazi district is being reckoned one of the significant archaeological discoveries of 2020. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Early Roman aqueduct discovered in Turkey's touristic site Aydın

A team of archaeologists and researchers has discovered a nearly 2,000-year-old ancient Roman aqueduct in the Kuşadası district of western Turkey's Aydın. Source: Daily Sabah

May 26, 2021

More tourists expected in Aizanoi with new projects

Excavation and restoration works will be accelerated this year in the ancient city of Aizanoi, which is home to the best-preserved Zeus Temple in Anatolia and called the “Second Ephesus.” Source: Hürriyet Daily News

May 27, 2021

Two warehouse museums to be established in Istanbul

Some artifacts in the warehouses of the Istanbul Archeology Museums will be taken to Atatürk Airport and some to an area bought by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in Maltepe district, where “warehouse museums” will be established. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Life in ancient Pergamon presented to int’l archaeological community

The results of a project on life in the ancient city of Pergamon (today’s Bergama), which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, 1,800 years ago have been presented to the international archaeological community through the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW). Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Excavations to reveal hidden history of eastern Turkey's Ani ruins

Ani archaeological site, located on the Turkish-Armenian border close to the Arpaçay district in Kars province, is one of the most popular destinations in Turkey thanks to its fascinating history. The hidden past of the site will be revealed through excavations soon, increasing its popularity even further among foreign and local tourists. Source: Daily Sabah

May 30, 2021

Altıntepe Fortress in eastern Erzincan province

The historical area in the eastern province of Erzincan, which is one of the most important Urartian cities and home to the Altıntepe Castle on the historical Silk Road, awaits opening after becoming an archaeology park. Source: Hürriyet Daily News