Centuries-old grave revealed in Istanbul when the waters receded
When the water in the Şamlar Dam in Şamlar Neighborhood of Başakşehir, one of the oldest settlements in Istanbul, receded due to hot weather and drought, settlements and village cemeteries dating back centuries emerged.
A part of Şamlar Neighborhood in Başakşehir, which was removed from village status in 2013 and became a neighborhood, was flooded by the filling of the Sazlıdere Dam, which was started to be built in 1996. Knowing that the old settlement of the village would be flooded, the residents of the village buried their bodies in other cemeteries, while some cemeteries were left. With the settlement completely submerged, it is known that there is the old Şamlar Village under the point that appears as a dam for 27 years.
Due to the increasing temperatures and drought in Istanbul this year, many dams have dried up and the water level has dropped. The water level of the Sazlıdere Dam has also dropped to 15.4 percent according to ISKI data. With the decrease in the water level, the historical Şamlar Village also came to light. As the water receded, the entrance gate of the historical cemetery built centuries ago, the walls covered around it and dozens of cemeteries inside were seen.
“MY FATHER, MY GRANDMOTHER, MY GRANDFATHER, ALL MY ELDERS ARE IN THAT CEMETERY”
Mahir Gönen, 69, who was born and raised in Şamlar Neighborhood, said, “My grandfathers and ancestors are from here. I found a tombstone belonging to my grandfather’s grandmother in that cemetery. She died in 1854. We could not read what was written on that stone, but we showed it to someone who knew and that’s how we understood what it was. We even collected our old tombstones and brought them to the side of the mosque.”