Turks gape to history and foresee rebirth of widespread Antakya from earthquake ruins
Economy 4 hours ago (Mar 07, 2023 04:13AM ET)
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The destroyed Habib-i Najjar Mosque is pictured in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Antakya, Turkey February 16, 2023. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo
By Ali Kucukgocmen and Ezgi Erkoyun
ANTAKYA, Turkey (Reuters) – Remnants of widespread Abrahamic history had been destroyed when an earthquake flattened mighty of Antakya in southern Turkey excellent month, but many hope town can upward push from the rubble because it has executed over centuries of disasters and conquests.
Established by the Seleucid Empire in 300 BC, Antakya, beforehand Antioch, has been home to Jews, Christians and Muslims and destroyed or closely damaged a entire lot of times because it modified fingers between Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Ottomans.
Great of the rescue effort after the Feb. 6 earthquakes centered on the unique, residential facet of Antakya, the place hundreds had been caught in their sleep and crushed or trapped below the rubble. In total, nearly 52,000 folk had been killed in Turkey and Syria.
On the reverse monetary institution of the Orontes River, in the inclined city as soon as effectively-most neatly-liked by vacationers, mosques and church buildings lie ruined. Rescue efforts in the living, populated with companies in living of homes, had been sparse, while security forces saved guard in opposition to looters at every nook.
Abdurrahman Kurdo, a alternate student and the manager of a resort shut to the destroyed Antioch Greek Orthodox Church, became as soon as sifting through the rubble to salvage what he might per chance well per chance also of Antakya’s tradition. To this level he had stumbled on a jam of Hatay Magazine, celebrating life in Turkey’s southernmost province, from the 1970s.
“The rubble on this living just isn’t any longer supreme made up of concrete piles, rocks and roof tiles – the tradition of Hatay lies beneath,” he mentioned.
“What we be taught from our elders is that Hatay witnessed seven earthquakes in its history but it with out a doubt became as soon as reborn from its ashes. We luxuriate in that Hatay will be reborn from its ashes all all over again.”
The entrance to the courtyard of the church, rebuilt after an earthquake in 1872, can now supreme be accessed from a facet avenue by ice climbing over a mound of particles.
PAINTINGS OF THE SAINTS
The bell tower lies on its facet, with clothes positioned on high for earthquake victims to select. From the courtyard, the entrance to the church is barely recognisable, the door hidden on the aid of rubble and a circulate lying on its facet amid the particles.
The ground is moreover lined by rubble from the collapsed roof, while a entire lot of work of Jesus and the saints hang slanted and lined in mud and dust on the walls. Others lie among the many particles.
The Habib-i Najjar Mosque, mentioned to be the first mosque in the Anatolia peninsula, dates aid to the Roman Empire, when it is believed there became as soon as a pagan temple in its living. A church in-constructed its living became as soon as became into a mosque and then aid to a church, a sample repeating itself a entire lot of times. It became as soon as excellent rebuilt by the Ottoman Empire in the 1800s after an earthquake.
The minaret collapsed in excellent month’s catastrophe and supreme a little fragment of the dome above the pulpit might per chance well per chance also even be seen on the aid of the rubble of the front wall that fell into the courtyard, while three diverse walls seem intact.
The Ulu Camii (Great Mosque), courting aid to the 18th century, collapsed, while the minaret of the Sarimiye Mosque, in-constructed the 16th century, has toppled. Other historic constructions, at the side of the governor’s living of job, had been moreover destroyed.
Kurdo recalled how folk of diverse religions co-existed in town. “We constantly lived collectively, we grew up collectively,” he mentioned. “We luxuriate in we can pick up Hatay all all over again as one vitality.”
Among the many victims of the Feb. 6 earthquake had been Saul Cenudioglu, leader of the Jewish neighborhood in Antakya, and his partner, Tuna Cenudioglu.
The Antioch Synagogue is aloof standing but there are cracks in the walls and particles all over, mentioned Rabbi Mendy Chitrik, chairman of the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States.
Antakya has been home to Jews for extra than 2,300 years but the neighborhood had diminished in size to fewer than 20 in most in style years.
“On the opposite hand little it became as soon as, it had a extraordinarily huge fragment in the coronary heart of town,” Chitrik mentioned. “The coronary heart of Antakya constantly showed this coexistence, tolerance. It became as soon as fairly improbable to scrutinize this staunch connection between diverse traditions, cultures, ethnic backgrounds.”
The rabbi mentioned he came to Antakya after the earthquakes to take a look at on the Jewish neighborhood and pick them to Istanbul.
Entering the synagogue felt fancy “2,500 years of history had plot to a shut”, Chitrik mentioned. But he rescued widespread Torah scrolls courting aid hundreds of years to preserve till the synagogue is rebuilt.
“We had been taking the Torahs and the excellent Jews out of town. The Torahs will return, the synagogue will be reopened. All over all all over again there will be Jewish life in Antakya,” he mentioned.
Olcay Aydemir, an architect and restoration knowledgeable, mentioned the living had experienced earthquakes over hundreds of years and restoration efforts had to be sensitive.
“These constructions upward push from their ashes,” she mentioned. “These rocks ought to aloof no longer be thrown away. Those that might per chance well per chance also even be re-inclined have to be re-inclined.”
The constructions that had been aloof partly standing, such because the Habib-i Najjar Mosque, wished to be bolstered, Aydemir mentioned, adding that every collapsed construction had to be examined in my thought to be taught from the previous and prepare the classes to the future.
“The excellent earthquake became as soon as bigger than anticipated. On the opposite hand it brought with it well-known files that will well per chance also characterize us about constructions’ weaknesses and causes for their crumple,” she mentioned.