New tombs and architectural structures have emerged during the excavations initiated in the Seljuk Square Cemetery, which is the world’s largest Turkish-Islamic cemetery in the Ahlat district of Bitlis.
In the cemetery where the tombstones, each of which is a work of art, with the writings and shapes on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Tentative List; Excavation, restoration and landscaping works will continue this year as well.
Ahlat Seljuk Square Cemetery Excavation Head Dr. Faculty Member Mehmet Kulaz stated that this year, the Turkish Historical Society will support the excavation and restoration works as a sponsor.
In the studies to be carried out; Expressing that they will continue to work on lichen cleaning, stone correction, exhumation and landscaping, Kulaz said, “To summarize the work we will do this year, rehabilitation works will be carried out in the valley, which was used as the Ahlat-Tatvan road during the Russian occupation and where great destruction occurred. We have already started these studies. Apart from that, there is a lot of grass in the cemetery. We not only create a fire hazard, but also weed weed so that visitors can see the tombstones more easily. Apart from that, there are some areas that require intervention as a priority when starting here. The surrounding of the octagonal dome is one of these areas. One of our goals this year is to intervene in that area within the framework of the Turkish Historical Society project.”
“New architectural structures and tombs are coming to light”
Stating that they started excavations in the valley, which was used as the Ahlat-Tatvan road during the Russian occupation, Dr. Faculty Member Mehmet Kulaz said that new architectural structures and new tombs have begun to be unearthed during the excavations.
Kulaz continued his words as follows:
“During these studies, new findings are being obtained during the rehabilitation of the valley and the restoration of that destruction. Because when we take the surface soil, new graves come out from under the ground. During these works, children’s graves, sometimes graves belonging to adults, coffins and witnesses are found. Of course, it is important to transform them into their original form. Protecting and restoring them is one of the important works. From time to time, interesting architectural structures and tomb structures can also emerge. We do not know what is the round structure that has just started to come to light. Its excavation continues, but when the excavation is completed, perhaps its function will be clarified. The least unearthed in such studies is the conservation of such architectural structures. Our main goal is to keep a tissue that we have dug out of the ground under the ground, if you are not going to protect it, if you are not going to restore it. But we unearthed such structures because they are on the route. I hope we will do this in conservation. In order to prevent further destruction, we will draw the projects and make the necessary applications for restoration as soon as possible.”