In October 2019, some important archaeological discoveries were made in the area of Turkey, including the finds in the sites of Arslantepe and Parion. However, the most astonishing news was the unearthing of an 11,300-year-old Neolithic-era temple in Mardin Province. The archaeologists found this temple with three mostly-intact steles and dated it to the same era as the Göbeklitepe excavation site in southeastern Şanlıurfa province.
As a regular visitor to the region, I have witnessed the changes in the Ephesus site and the museum over the past five decades. I remember walking over mounds of marble fragments in 1965, which turned out to be pieces of the now magnificently restored façade of the Library of Celsus! So imagine my excitement this September to see the Ephesus Museum in Selçuk after it had been closed for major renovations between 2012 and 2015. However, my anticipation turned to shock at what I saw: The new arrangement is a giant step back from the museum’s exhibition and education mission.
Mimar Sinan, the most renowned architect of the Ottoman Empire, spent many years in Edirne, working on his masterpiece - Selimiye Mosque. However, he was even more busy in this period as there are other buildings he erected in the city. Many of them are still standing, but they remain virtually unknown to the tourists arriving only to see Selimiye Mosque. Here is a story of Defterdar Mustafa Pasha Mosque, a forgotten creation of Sinan that reveals the architectural style of the grand master with all its beauty.
The most exciting archaeological news in September was, most probably, the discovery that the history of the legendary Troy is longer than previously thought. Moreover, an ancient princess’ sanctuary was found in Amasra, while the excavations at Boncuklu Höyük and Kahin Tepe revealed the secrets of the prehistoric period of Asia Minor. The archaeologists also struck gold at the Apollon Smintheion Temple in the Troad where they found 68 gold coins, dating back to the Byzantine era. Meanwhile, the ancient settlement of Hasankeyf will soon be submerged as part of a controversial dam project.