Passage of history

As so often happens, history has to give way to modern needs.

But the authorities in south-eastern Turkey are trying to save something of the region's heritage before a historical town is left underwater because of a dam project.

On Monday, the Artuklu Hamam, a centuries-old bath house in the town of Hasankeyf, was moved 2km down a specially constructed road to an archaeological park being set up just outside the town.

The building, said to be at least 650 years old and weighing 1,600 tonnes, was loaded onto a wheeled platform for the transfer.

Large parts of Hasankeyf, home to sites that go back as far as Roman times, will be under water or risk damage in the near future because of the development of the Ilisu Dam project, which aims to improve energy supplies to the region.

In May last year, a 15th-century tomb was similarly moved to the new park. There are plans to relocate more structures, said an official.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2018, with the headline 'Passage of history'. Print Edition | Subscribe