An ancient castle in the city center of Gaziantep, southern Turkey, was badly damaged after Monday’s strong earthquake, raising concerns about damage to important ancient sites. in the region that has been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years.
Several fortresses to the east, south and southeast of the castle were destroyed, Turkish state news agency Anadolu said. said in a report about damage. Large cracks have split other forts, the report said, and part of the nearby Sirvani Mosque has also collapsed.
Photos and videos released by Anadolu and a local news agency showed collapsed stone walls and iron railings surrounding the castle scattered across the pavement.
The area hard hit by the earthquake was once part of several empires, including Hittite, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman.
Gaziantep Castle was built as a watchtower during the Roman period, in the second and third centuries. It was expanded in the sixth century under the Byzantine emperor Justinian, by Turkish Museuma website operated by the ministry of culture and tourism.
It is considered one of the “best examples of surviving castles in Turkey,” according to the website. The castle, with a series of underground tunnels used to transport water, is included in UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage Sites.