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İzmir’s treasures to be shown in five new open-air museums

New open-air museums will be established in İzmir (formerly Greek Smyrna) as long-term excavations of the many ancient sites in the province are completed over the next few years. The Turkish Culture Ministry is also planning to establish a ‘mega museum’ in the city

The reconstructed temple of Trajan at Pergamon, where German archeologists have painstakingly excavated for 130 years [Credit:Web]
The western province of İzmir, a treasure trove of archaeological and historical sites, will open five more open-air museums to house archaeological artifacts recovered from excavations that are set finished over the next few years.

İzmir Culture and Tourism Director Abdülaziz Ediz said many of the 12 Ionian cities were located in İzmir and that 8,500-year-old objects from the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras were found in the area.
Ediz gave information about the excavation work conducted in İzmir and announced that it had been carried out by foreign heads of excavation at the world-famous ancient sites of Pergamum and Ephesus. With their support, the excavations are conducted by Turkish archaeologists, he said.

“The nearest excavation site is Agora, which is a significant place that can attract many visitors. The Smyrna excavation site in Bayraklı is expected to open to visitors as well. Excavation work is being conducted very well at Yeşilova Mound in Bornova,” Ediz said.

Pointing out the significance of the amphitheater, residential places and structures of Erythrai in the popular holiday town of Çeşme, Ediz said, “This is the first leg of the work. Putting the amphitheater into use again is a long-term process that will take 10 to 15 years, but it has a great significance for the Çeşme region.”

More historic sites

The Klaros excavation site in Ahmetbeyli will be open to visitors soon. One of the Ionian cities of Urla, Klazomenia, will be open to visitors as well. “Metropolis is another site [we plan] to open in 2013 with the directions of our prime minister. The first leg of excavations of Nif Mountain, a large site, is being carried out in the region of Kemalpaşa. We will need four or five years to complete the excavations. The Honaztepe and Fokai excavations have been conducted for many years. Teos is another important place to open for tourism; its landscape planning has been completed and construction will be initiated. Teos, Metropolis, Klaros, Klazomenai and Smyrna will be open to visitors in several years, which means the construction of a new museum. İzmir is an open-air museum as a whole, and a new museum should be opened in the province. When these historical sites are opened to visitors, open-air museums will be established.”

Ediz also pointed out that cultural heritage contributed to cruise tourism. “No one would take a cruise to İzmir if it didn’t have Ephesus, Pergamum and Kadifekale. For this reason we should protect our historical and cultural heritage.”

The Turkish Culture Ministry is also planning to establish a single “mega museum” in İzmir, Ediz revealed.

“We have enough special historical artifacts to fill the museum. Many of them are currently at the İzmir Archeology Museum, the Arts and History Museum or the other museums in various towns in İzmir, and we are planning [to display] historical artifacts currently in storage,” he said

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [August 04, 2012]

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