January 2019 could as well be called the month of restorations because the most important events reported in this month concerned numerous renovation projects. Among other events, the repair work on the roof of Istanbul's Haydarpaşa Train Station, damaged in a fire in 2010, was completed, the restoration of Bayburt Castle was initiated, and the renovation of the Stable Mansion at the Beylerbeyi Palace compound on the Asian shore of the Bosporus was completed. Moreover, 23 historical shops in Safranbolu will be restored soon. Last but not least, the renovated sections of Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace were finally opened to visitors.
We are happy to announce that the editor of Turkish Archaeological News, Izabela Miszczak, has recently published a paper devoted to the secrets of the famous Plutonium in Hierapolis. It is is an attempt at organising the existing knowledge about the Plutonium of Hierapolis by providing the analysis of the written sources and then putting them in the wider cultural and religious context. The latest archaeological discoveries are discussed, and the possible interpretation of their results is provided. The paper has been accepted by the moderators of SocArXiv, an open archive of the social sciences. It is also available for the users of Academia.edu and ResearchGate platforms.
The biggest archaeological news of December 2018 was the return of the stolen fragments of the famous "Gypsy Girl" mosaic from Zeugma. The missing pieces were brought back from the USA. On the more depressing tone, the columns of ancient Perge still seek sponsorship, vandals damaged the monuments of the Phrygian Valley, and a Roman-era mosaic has been sitting under a dumpster since its discovery two years ago in Iznik, the ancient Nicaea.
2018 was a busy year for archaeologists working in the area of Turkey. Almost 350 archaeological excavations and around 50 rescue missions were carried out, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism that provided 26 mln liras. Below you will find an overview of the most important discoveries in the country.
Nothing is stunning about the building of Saruca Pasha Mosque, and not much can be written about the structure. However, the small graveyard situated next to the mosque, on its north-eastern side, is quite another matter. We may begin by noting that the alternative name of the mosque is Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Mosque because of the person buried in the graveyard. In order to understand the importance of this grave, it is necessary to move forward in time, from the era of Mehmed II to the end of the 17th century, when the Ottoman Empire made the last attempts at expansion into Central and Eastern Europe.