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ARCHAEOLOGY >Caravanserai to become expropriated amid alcohol debate

MUĞLA – Anadolu Agency

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A caravanserai that was built by the Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent for his mother, Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, in the resort district of Marmaris will now turn into a museum amid anger that some parts of the complex are currently used as a bar.

“It makes me worry that a structure which was constructed centuries ago for the sake of God has turned into a bar and entertainment place,” historian and writer Talha Uğurluel said. 

Construction on the Ayşe Hafsa Sultan Caravanserai was completed in 1545, three years after the conquest of Rhodes, and fitted with the inscription “The son of the sultan Selim Han, the sultan of the lands and the seas, the master of Arab and Persian kings, Sultan Suleyman Han had this menzilhane [resting place] built in 1545.” 

But a bar that was placed among the caravanserai’s arches has caused increased anger from some locals in the district who applied to the Prime Ministry Communications Center (BİMER), demanding that the building be taken over. 

The Culture and Tourism Ministry subsequently initiated works to turn the structure into a museum. 

The caravanserai is private property, but officials are now working to expropriate and restore the building, Muğla Gov. Amir Çiçek said.

Members of the Girginç family, which controls 80 percent of the caravanserai, said they were pleased that the historic structure would serve as a museum. 

Arzu Girginç, a member of the Marmaris municipal assembly, said the caravanserai had become private property over the years but that the locals of Marmaris deserved to see the structure as a museum rather than a bar. 

“This structure, of which my family is a shareholder, need to be controlled by the state. If this place is an inheritance from our ancestors to our family, we need to leave this inheritance to our region and people,” she said. “It should be expropriated, revived and presented to the region in the care of the state.”


‘Situation heartbreaking’

The historian Uğurluel also expressed happiness that the caravanserai would be taken over by the state as the current situation is “heartbreaking.” 

“I am very happy about the expropriation works. It will relieve people’s consciences if officials take urgent measures about it. I am looking forward to see the day when the caravanserai will return to its old self,” he said.

April/15/2017

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