Earthquake in Turkey: 2,000-year-old Gaziantep Castle damaged
An ancient castle in Turkey was one of the historical monuments that was damaged severe earthquake hit the country and neighboring Syria, killing more than 2,000 people on Monday. Images show parts of Gaziantep Castle, built in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD during the Roman Empire, which crumbled after the earthquake.
The 2,000-year-old castle is in the Gaziantep region, about 80 miles south of the epicenter of one of the tremors in Kahramanmaras province, according to Reuters news agency.
The first quake was a massive 7.8 magnitude tremor that wreaked havoc across a vast region stretching across southeastern Turkey and northern Syria. Its tremor and aftershocks were felt as far away as Cairo, Cyprus, Lebanon and even Greenland and Denmark.
The second earthquake, which registered 7.6 on the Richter scale according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency, struck the same region shortly after. The epicenter of the second earthquake was the Elbistan region in Kahramanmaras province, Reuters said.
The castle, an archaeological site, is located near the Archeology Museum of Gaziantep, which includes works from the late Hittite and Roman periods when the castle was built.
Although there is no definitive information as to when the castle was first built, it was founded on a mound of earth some 6,000 years old when an ancient city called Theban occupied the space.
It is believed to have been built as a watchtower during Roman times between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD. However, it was expanded even further in the 5th century AD during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinianus, known as the “Architect of Castles”.
The Ottomans repaired the castle over time, but it was completely renovated a second time in 1481 by the Egyptian Sultan Qaitbay. There are 12 towers in the castle and the two towers near the main gate were rebuilt in 1557 during the Ottoman Empire by Süleyman Magnificent.
Videos and photos of the castle after the earthquake show large sections of the rock facade having fallen and an iron fence broken and warped by fallen stones. CBS News has reached out to a representative at the historic site for more information and is awaiting a response.
“I’ve never felt anything like this in the 40 years I’ve lived,” a Gaziantep resident told BBC News of the earthquake. “We were shaken very hard at least three times, like a baby in a cradle.”
The castle was one of thousands of buildings damaged by the quakes. According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency, 2,824 buildings were destroyed, Reuters said.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known as UNESCO, said in a statement Tuesday that it is investigating damage to World Heritage sites. In Syria, the ancient city of Aleppo, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in Danger, was damaged. The organization is dealing with damage to the city’s citadel, the west tower of the old city wall, several buildings in the souks or marketplaces.
In Turkey, UNESCO is concerned about several cultural heritage sites, including the Diyarbakır Fortress and the Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape, which includes a wall, castle and gardens and is considered an important center of the Roman, Sassanid, Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman periods.
“My condolences go to the families and loved ones of the deceased. My thoughts are also with the injured and all those affected. Our organization will provide assistance within its mandate,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
UNESCO mobilizes its experts to assess the damage and help secure and stabilize damaged sites.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/earthquake-turkey-gaziantep-castle-roman-era-archeological-site-damaged/ Earthquake in Turkey: 2,000-year-old Gaziantep Castle damaged