The Santa Ruins archaeological site located within the boundaries of the Black Sea province of Gümüşhane and dubbed a “hidden city close to the sky” has been registered as a “fragile area to be protected.”
Destroyed by the illegal excavations of treasure hunters and having lost its visual beauty due to negligence, the historical structures are planned to be bring the region into tourism with a decision published in the Official Gazette in October.
There are seven settlements in the Santa Ruins, covering three different slopes, which are all visible to each other.
Noting that the surrounding areas in the ruins are used only during the summer months, the region remains unprotected and is the target of treasure hunters, Coşkun Erüz, an academic from Black Sea Technical University, said that the protection development plan and the area management plan will be carried out in years.
“The region is only inhabited for three to four months in the summer. Unfortunately, the bridges, fountains, churches and even the houses where people live in the region are left unprotected and suffered great damage in other seasons,” Erüz said.
He noted that if the region is brought into tourism, Santa can host guests in 12 months of the year.
It is believed that Santa, the cultural heritage of the Greek-Pontus state in eastern Black Sea, was built in the 17th century.
The structures that were abandoned after the Greeks left the region in 1923 are in the Dumanlı village, 72 kilometers from Gümüşhane and 42 kilometers from Trabzon.
Home to Greek civic architecture, the Santa ruins were declared an archaeological natural site in 1999.
Some 5,000 people lived in the ruins between 1700 and 1900. But they are visited by only a few tourists because of the lack of transportation means.
Hurriyet Daily News