Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Byzantine Palace Vandalized In Istanbul

February 9, 2012
Today's Zaman

A debate surrounding the destruction of a structure thought to be remnants of part of the ancient Imperial Byzantine palace complex located in a first-degree protected archeological area of İstanbul's historic Sultanahmet area to facilitate the construction of a five-story hotel is intensifying.

According to a report by the Radikal daily on Tuesday, images emerged this week showing machinery at work on the site. Following the release of the images the Fatih Municipality released a statement, saying the machinery was not related to construction work. The İstanbul Archeological Museum then sent a complaint to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Representatives at the museum have expressed dismay that the future of what is thought to be an important historic structure has managed to “fall into the wrong hands,” and are arguing that the work constitutes a breach of Law No. 2863 on the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Property.

Following a tip-off received by the Archeological Museum on Dec. 14, demolition work that had begun on the site and seen part of an ancient brick wall destroyed was halted immediately. This week's developments, however, led to the debate surrounding the future of the site being reignited.

The Byzantine Palace or Büyük Saray (Great Palace), as it is called in Turkish, was located on the southern end of the historic İstanbul peninsula. Only a few remnants of its foundation have survived to the present day.
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