The walls of an ancient palace from the Byzantine era in Sultanahmet have been demolished to make way for a new five-story hotel, prompting anger from scholars.
By Ömer Erbil. First published in Hurriyet
“The buildings [in question] in Sultanahmet, were not only damaged but also demolished. Among those buildings, the Byzantine walls were also damaged even though experts from the Istanbul Archaeology Museum conducted research and wrote a report on the incident. However, the construction continued, and a company built a five-story hotel building [on the site],” 51 history, art and architecture scholars from Boğaziçi, Istanbul, Uludağ, Kapadokya, Marmara, Istanbul Technical universities said in a joint statement to protest the destruction after daily Radikal broke news of the initial damage.
The scholars said they were observing the incident with concern.
The first-degree protected area in Sultanahmet contains many archaeological and ancient sites. The law in question did not permit the demolition of the walls. The hotel, meanwhile, is now five stories high.
A similar situation occurred during the construction of the Eresin Hotel, although the edifice has now become a semi-museum to keep ancient artifacts.
The situation concerning the Byzantine palace was noted Dec. 15, 2011, by officials and was reported to Fatih Municipality. According to a written statement from the foundation to protect historical artifacts, the construction should have been stopped immediately.