Earthquakes hit Turkey, the historical monuments of Syria


The earthquakes have destroyed or damaged ancient monuments that have withstood previous wars and disasters.

A series of devastating earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria, which killed more than 5,000 people, also destroyed or damaged several historical monuments in the ancient region that had survived centuries of wars and natural disasters.

Parts of Syria hit by the quakes are also suffering from a 12-year war that has also destroyed some of the iconic architecture that the country, the cradle of human civilization, has long been known for.

Experts fear the earthquakes could increase the loss of the region’s cultural heritage – the Turkish government has said more than 5,600 buildings have been destroyed in that country alone.

Here are some of the main monuments damaged by the earthquakes:

Gaziantep Castle in the historic district of the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep, August 11, 2022. The castle was heavily damaged in the earthquakes of February 6, 2023 [File: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP]

Gaziantep Castle, Gaziantep

Known locally as Gaziantep Kalesi, the second-century AD castle in the center of the Turkish city of Gaziantep was partially destroyed, with many of its walls and watchtowers razed and other parts damaged.

“Some bastions in the eastern, southern and southeastern parts of the historic Gaziantep Castle in the central Sahinbey district were destroyed by the earthquake, the rubble was scattered across the road,” Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu reported on Monday.

The building was initially used as an observation point. It was then developed into a full-fledged castle by the Romans. The monument has been a popular tourist attraction – its long and rich history is a testament to the city’s ancient roots and the countless waves of visitors and conquerors that have flocked to this part of Turkey over the centuries.

The castle has been renovated several times, the last in the early 2000s.

(Al Jazeera)

Sirvani Mosque, Gaziantep

Adjacent to Gaziantep Castle, this 17th-century mosque has also suffered serious damage. According to Anadolu, the eastern wall and dome partially collapsed.

The mosque, one of the oldest in Gaziantep, has long stood tall not only as a religious structure but also as an architectural marvel. Unlike most minarets in mosques, the towers of Sirvani Mosque have two balconies.

People walk into the Citadel, Aleppo's famous fortress where much of the fierce fighting took place in 2016, in Syria, Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The December 2016 recapture of eastern Aleppo, one of the deadliest episodes of the Syrian civil war, was a historic victory for Assad's forces in the conflict, now entering its seventh year, but it left the area in shambles.  (AP Photo/Nataliya Vasilyeva)
People walk into the Citadel, the famous fortress of Aleppo, in Syria, September 12, 2017. The ancient castle has largely survived the brutal war in Syria so far, but was damaged by the earthquake [File: Nataliya Vasilyeva/AP Photo]

Aleppo Citadel, Aleppo

It is one of the world’s oldest surviving castles, but it did not escape the earthquake unscathed.

“Parts of the Ottoman mill in the citadel” of Aleppo have collapsed, while “parts of the northeastern defensive walls have cracked and fallen,” Syria’s Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums said in a statement.

Parts of the dome of the minaret of the Ayyubid Mosque in the citadel fell off, while the entrance to the fort has been damaged, “including the entrance to the Mamluk Tower,” the government agency added.

Yeni Mosque, Malatya

The 17th-century mosque in the ancient city of Malatya in Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia region has suffered repeated earthquake damage. It was destroyed in the earthquake of 1894, but was rebuilt afterwards. It was damaged again in the 1964 earthquake.

On Monday, according to Anadolu, many of the monument’s walls fell, adding the latest chapter to the mosque’s struggle for survival.

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