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12 May 2023, 10:07

Istanbul's Maiden's Tower reopens after 2-year restoration


ISTANBUL, 12 May (BelTA - Anadolu Agensy). - Istanbul's famed Maiden's Tower reopened on Thursday after a lengthy and meticulous restoration.

"We're changing the functionality of iconic structures as we restore them, especially in touristic regions," Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said earlier in the day.

"We want them to get a share of tourism" by opening them to public use, said Ersoy on the reopening of the landmark, jutting out of the water of the Istanbul Strait about 200 meters (roughly 656 feet) from the coast.

One of Istanbul's characteristic structures, the history of the Maiden's Tower goes back to 410 BC, he said in his speech, adding that it had previously undergone restoration in 1999-2000.

"We're talking about a historical building of approximately 2,400 years. It's a very old structure. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times," he noted.

The tower was reopened after a major two-year restoration under a Culture and Tourism Ministry project. The materials used in the effort were faithful to the tower's state during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839), while later additions to the structure were removed.

The renovation of the tower was carried out in accordance with international restoration principles by Feridun Cili of Istanbul Technical University, antiquities scholar Zeynep Ahunbay, and architect Han Tumertekin, under the supervision of a scientific committee.

During the renovation, it was discovered that the tower had been damaged by salt and other chemicals in the concrete and cement used and that the carrying columns and beams were not attached to each other.

Over the course of two years, the historical main walls of the building were strengthened with invisible braces made of stainless steel, and the original walls of the castle section were revealed.

Problems in the structure were revealed with a variety of technologies including chemical analysis, laser scanners, and georadar imaging, which helped experts find voids in its walls that were refilled via injection.

The walls and dome were rebuilt according to their form in the early 19th century, with wood carriers on the balcony floor frame, wooden coverings on the walls, and decorative elements. While the dome was covered in its original lead, gold leaf was used to cover the finial, with a lightning rod set up nearby.

Walkways were also built around the ramparts of the courtyard walls for visitors to climb up to the tower and enjoy the view of Istanbul.

Extensive earthquake measures

To prevent the historical tower from being damaged in the event of an earthquake, integrated piles made of steel and concrete were driven into the ground around the islet.

Reinforced concrete support beams were added to strengthen the building's perimeter, while the platform around the tower was completely renovated and wave barriers were installed.

Besides, the clean water line to the tower was overhauled and its energy lines renewed, with an underground biological treatment system also added.

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