Concrete hotel built on the historical walls of Istanbul draws anger

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A five-story concrete hotel built on Istanbul’s 1600-year-old city walls and a historical fountain draws anger of the residents in Cankurtaran neighborhood.

Some stones of the fortification wall, on which serious destructions are noticeable, have been unhitched and the faucet part of the fountain has been removed.

Also, some parts of the fountain have been destroyed.

Noting that the historical walls have been damaged over time, Nevin Taş, the neighborhood head, said that the buildings used to be wooden, but converted into reinforced concrete when they were transferred to a new owner.

“It’s a very dangerous situation. The distance between the stones gradually opens up. It really poses a lot of danger right now,” Taş said.

Stating that the historical artifacts left from the Ottoman and Byzantine period faces the danger of extinction, Mithat Küçük, a resident in the neighborhood, pointed out that some archways or fountains were unearthed during some hotel constructions, but “somehow they were covered.”

Saying that the historical buildings are disappearing, Küçük called on the authorities to deal with the issue and building owners to respect history.

Meanwhile, construction workers were seen lowering material from windows without any security measures.

When asked why no measures were taken against the possibility of damaging the historical structure, a construction worker said: “We try as much as we can not to do any damage.”

Initially built by Constantine the Great in the 5th century A.D., Istanbul’s ancient walls took their final form with adjustments conducted over time.

The elaborate system of double walls and tunnels saved Constantinople, as the city was known then, and the Byzantine Empire with it from sieges.

Many portions of the ancient walls still stand while other sections have crumbled.

Listed as one of the longest historical monuments in the world, the ancient city walls encircle the old city perimeters and attract attention from both local and foreign tourists.

But despite their historical significance, the city’s ancient walls have become notorious for serving as shelters to homeless, but some damaged walls are also home to illegally constructed makeshift structures or gardens today.

Hurriyet Daily News

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