Underground parts of Ottoman palace to be detected

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Within the scope of ongoing excavation works at the Edirne New Palace (Saray-ı Cedide-i Amire), which hosted significant Ottoman sultans during the rise of the Ottoman Empire, underground parts of the palace will be detected using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) technique.

Being laid in 1450 during the reign of Murat II and hosted Ottoman sultans such as Fatih Sultan Mehmet and Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the Edirne New Palace is one of the significant cultural assets of Turkey.

With an aim to revive the palace built on an area of approximately 3 million square meters, excavation works are being carried out by Trakya University with the support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Gülay Apa Kurtişoğlu, associate professor at Trakya University Art History Department and the head of the excavations, said they have been trying to uncover the foundations of the buildings during the excavations they have been carrying out since 2018.

Stating that detailed excavations will be carried out in the new season to obtain important findings, Kurtişoğlu said: “This season we will continue working around the Akağalar Ward and Akağalar Mosque, where we started works last year. At the same time, we plan to work in the field separating the walls between the Alay Square and Divan Square.”

Kurtişoğlu stated that the GPR scanning made an important contribution to the detection of structures underground.

Explaining that underground surveys were carried out during the works carried out last year, Kurtişoğlu said: “We use GPR scanning to view the foundations of structures that are underground. We did it at several locations last year. This year, we will do it in order to see the foundations of the destroyed structures in the Harem [seraglio] field. Since the structures are not on the surface, we will be conducting GPR scanning in order to fasten the excavation work. We will take advantage of technology.”

On the other hand, Trakya University Rector Professor Erhan Tabakoğlu stated that Edirne, which served as the capital of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 100 years, has a rich historical heritage.

Emphasizing that Fatih Sultan Mehmet gave importance to the construction of the palace, Tabakoğlu drew attention to the fact that Edirne Palace was at least as magnificent as Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace.

Noting that important work has been done so far to restore the Edirne Palace, Tabakoğlu said, “Although it is a very large area of 3 million square meters, we dream of the days when certain strategic fields are excavated. Then the palace will be revived as much as possible. We are working hard for this.”

[HH] Edirne Palace

The construction of the Edirne Palace, which was built on the edge of the Tunca River, started in 1450 by the order of Sultan Murat II.

Having a settlement plan similar to the Topkapı Palace, the Edirne Palace reflects the general character of Turkish palace architecture with its structures of different functions located around large squares.

After its construction, the palace, which witnessed many important events such as the Ottoman-Russian War and the Balkan War, was significantly damaged during Ottoman-Russian War.

The palace, which was used as an arsenal during the war, was blown up by the order of Edirne Governor Cemil Pasha, who thought that Edirne would be invaded and the ammunition could be captured by Russians.

Buildings such as the Matbah-ı Amire (Royal Kitchens), Cihannûma Kasrı (Eye on the World Pavilion), Kum Kasrı Hamamı (Sand Pavilion Bathhouse), Adalet Kasrı (Justice Pavilion), Fatih Köprüsü (Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror’s Bridge), Kanuni Köprüsü (Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver’s Bridge), Şehabeddin Paşa Köprüsü (Şehabeddin Paşa’s Bridge), Av Köşkü (Hunting Lodge), Su Maksemi (Water Depot) and Namazgâhlı Çeşme (Fountain with Open Air Mosque) have been unearthed so far.

Efforts are underway to transform the Edirne Palace excavation field, which contains the Ottoman-era sewage system, tools belonging to the palace kitchen, as well as perfume bottles used by Hürrem Sultan, into an ancient site.

Hurriyet Daily News

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