Bodrum Museum and Castle “closed until further notice”

The Castle gates are now shut, the ticket windows and turnstiles have been removed, and scaffolding has been put in place on the exterior eastern walls for mortar restoration of the walls.

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Bodrum Museum and Castle “closed until further notice”
 
 

The high gates closed to the general public at Bodrum Castle on Saturday evening 30 September, thus closing access and viewing of the recently tentative listed UNESCO monument and home to the world renowned Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology for an unknown period, estimated at 2-3 years.


The official reason given hastily, following the closure, on the Bodrum and Fethiye Governorship websites, on 2 and 3rd October, was:

 ‘NOTICE: As a result of the examinations conducted after the earthquakes that occurred on July 21, 2017, due to the castle structure of the museum, damages occurred in the sections and in the places where the museum was used as a warehouse. Under the coordination of our Ministry's General Directorate of Cultural Assets and Museums and supervised by the İzmir and Muğla Surveying and Monuments Directorate, The Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum will be closed from 1st October 2017 until the completion of the necessary works due to the restoration work that will be started at the (1st Phase) work of Bodrum Metropolitan Museum of Surveying, Restitution, Restoration and Display Project and Engineering Projects. Approved by our Ministry on 13.09.2017 day and numbered E.182776.

Other museums during the closed period will continue in Bodrum: Zeki Müren Art Museum, Maussolleion Monument Museum and Bodrum Antique Theatre will be open during this process.’

(Unofficial translation of) Turkish notices:


http://www.fethiye.gov.tr/bodrum-kalesi-muzesinin-ziyarete-kapatilmasi-hakkinda-kaymakamlik-duyurusu

http://www.bodrum.gov.tr/bodrum-sualti-arkeoloji-mudurlugu-bodrum-kalesi-rolove-restitusyon-restorasyon-teshir-tanzim-ve-muhendislik-projeleri-yapimi-isi-hakkinda-duyuru

However as confirmed at a public meeting on 28 September, Mr Bahadir Sabah, Head of Restoration Department of the General Directorate of Cultural Assets and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said the project tender had started in 2013 and the architectural firm which has the contract to conduct the ‘Survey, Restitution  Restoration, Museum display and Engineering Project’, A N B Architects Consultancy Construction and Trade Ltd. Co. displays the project as first drawings in preparation for 2014-2015 on its website. The significant changes to the fabric and exhibition halls of the Museum has been under discussion since 2014, when Mr. Yasar Yildiz was the acting director of the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology.

Up to the present, there have been thirteen significant areas of archaeological artefacts on display: The outdoor Amphora wall (Bodrum Museum houses in its depots one of the largest collections of amphorae in the world, a treasure trove for researchers); the Knight’s Chapel holds the Late Eastern Roman Empire 6thC shipwreck model and artefacts; the 10th C Serce Liman Glass Shipwreck Hall holds the painstakingly pieced together remnants of original hull wood in the full- size model of the ship together with its glass cargo pieces and ship items, kept in constantly humidified atmosphere;  the Glass hall with more examples of glass found in underwater excavations and on land; the Tektas 5th C BC Classical era shipwreck finds, the Coins and Gold hall, the Carian Princess Hall holding the skeleton and gold finds from the 3rd C BC tomb discovered in Bodrum; the English Tower mediaeval display; the magnificent Uluburun Bronze Age shipwreck hall holding a full size model of the ship and cargo and its treasury artefacts room; the German, Spanish and Ottoman Commander’s tower, and the Ottoman Hamam.

The new proposals were explained in a well-attended public information meeting, which lasted six hours, called by the Bodrum Chamber of Architects and Bodrum City Civic Council on Thursday 28 September where the head official from Ankara - Mr Bahadir Sabah, Head of Restoration Department of the General Directorate of Cultural Assets and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the contractor finally gave details. The changes entail consolidating the artefacts on display into two halls- shipwrecks artefacts into a hall made up of an expanded and heightened Glass Shipwreck Hall without the actual shipwreck model, and land find artefacts in the substantially altered present Uluburun Hall, and most controversially, the removal of displays from the Knight’s chapel and restoring it to a mosque, as it was used so in Ottoman times. Public concerns and objections aired at the meeting concentrated on the late notice, the material cohesion of the Castle, the materials of the Museum, alteration of the silhouette to the Castle as the new halls will protrude above the battlements, plus the addition of a large elevator over the battlements, disruption and no access for tourists, amongst others concerns about turning what is a first degree Historical Heritage site into ‘a building site’ as Bodrum Chamber of Architects’ representative, Cevat Kalfa, said to local press. The new buildings will be very modern steel and glass constructions.

In recent years, minor excavations inside Bodrum Castle has turned up Byzantine mosaics, the walls of the 3-4th BC belonging to King Mausoleus’ Fort or palace, a mass grave of still shackled mediaeval slaves, and evidence of a much earlier temple of Apollo on top of the strategic site which has always guarded the harbour entrance to Bodrum, once ancient Halicarnassus.

The Castle gates are now shut, the ticket windows and turnstiles have been removed, and scaffolding has been put in place on the exterior eastern walls for mortar restoration of the walls.

 

 

 

 

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