ANTALYA - Anatolia News Agency
A new project to clean the walls of Alanya Castle in the southern province of Antalya’s Alanya district has begun, as the castle has been significantly damaged by graffiti scrawled on its walls
Alanya Castle is of cultural value due to its architecture and the Anatolian and Seljuk monuments it houses. The graffitis are now being removed from the walls. AA photo
Anew project has been set in motion to remove graffiti from the walls of the historic Alanya Castle, which awaits a UNESCO World Heritage site listing.
The Alanya Municipality and Alanya Museum Directorate initiated the restoration endeavors, according to a report prepared by Professor Bekir Eskici of Ankara’s Gazi University Fine Arts Faculty.
Alanya Museum Director Seher Türkmen said that the graffiti on the walls caused significant damage to the historic structures, adding that the Alanya Castle was of cultural value due to its architecture and the Anatolian and Seljuk monuments it houses.
In addition to tourist visits, people live in the neighborhood inside the castle as well, she said.
“This is why there is a large of crowd of people all the time inside the castle. People have a habit; they write on the walls and trees. Declarations of love written on historic walls does not make this love immortal. But there is such a tradition. This tradition is severely damaging historic structures.”
Türkmen said the work to remove the graffiti from the walls had started with the ornaments from the Seljuk era. “The Seljuk work on the walls of Alanya Castle is quite important and can also affect the layers of the walls. We ask that people do not write on the walls,” she said.
‘Walls covers a large area, monitoring not easy’
Monitoring the walls of Alanya Castle is not easy, as it covers a large area and a solution would only be possible through raising awareness, according to Türkmen. “Those who write on the walls should be warned or reported to the police. People should be sensitive of historic values.”
Türkmen said that it takes just two minutes to write something on the wall but its cleaning is very difficult and expensive, adding that original paintings and engravings have suffered serious damage.
“Those who damage historic and cultural structures should be fined. We will erect warning signs in order to prevent such actions.”
Alanya Municipality Cultural Director Nimet Hacıkura said that the first part of the cleaning project has already begun.
“A conservation report has been prepared by Eskici to clean the graffiti from the walls. What should be done and what techniques should be used have been determined in this report. The first work has been carried out on the gate of the castle. We will work to clean all graffiti from the historic structures in the castle,” he said.
However, according to Hacıkura, people continue to write on the walls even as they cleaned them. “In order to prevent it, we will also place security cameras [around the castle]. The area will be safe 24 hours a day.”
Alanya Castle was built in the 13th century following the city’s conquest in 1220. The castle was built on the remnants of earlier Byzantine- era structures. It is one of the best-preserved medieval
castles among many other castles in Anatolia.
Considered an open-air museum with its almost 6.5 kilometer-long walls, roughly140 bastions and approximately 400 cisterns, the castle also boasts glorious gates adorned with inscriptions and decorations.
In 2009, city officials filed for inclusion of Alanya Castle to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it was placed on the tentative list.