Arts & Entertainment

The guardians of Istanbul’s cultural heritage

Istanbul, Feb 1 (efe-epa).- Istanbul has been a site of human settlement for around 3,000 years and nowadays it is a cradle of cultural and historical heritage points that plot the city’s evolution over time.

Byzantine churches, walls and cisterns rub shoulders with Ottoman mosques, fountains and tombs in the Turkish city that straddles Europe and Asia.

Some of the historic features of Istanbul have been neglected in recent years while others have fallen into ruin.

Specialists from Istanbul’s cultural heritage department (IBB Miras) want to buck this trend.

These experts in restoration, architecture, engineering, history and visual arts, want to breathe some life back into some of the city’s dilapidated gems.

Oktay Özel, head of the cultural heritage department, told efe-epa: “Istanbul is a very special city, at the heart of the whole world, and an extremely rich metropolis in terms of history.”

The city is home to tens of thousands of properties of cultural interest, many of which are yet to be added to the official inventory list.

The team travels around Istanbul six days a week and its tasks range from small repairs and cleaning to larger-scale restorations.

Epa-efe joined the group over three months, in which time they worked on the 1,690-year-old Column of the Goths, cleaned the Ataturk monument and restored script on old fountains.

Other points of interest worked on by the team included: The Basilica Cistern (527-565), the Walls of Constantinople (408-450 and the Osman Aga fountain (1612). EFE-EPA

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