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Turkey Earthquake Destroys large portions of a 2,000-Year-Old UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gaziantep Castle


On Monday, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and northwest Syria, and a second of 7.4 magnitudes, mid-morning. 

More than 1,500 people have reportedly died as of this writing, with around 912 of them in Turkey and more than 500 in Syria. Thousands more have also been injured, and more than 2,300 buildings, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have been destroyed.  

Following a string of fatal earthquakes, Gaziantep Castle, a UNESCO heritage site built nearly 2000 years ago in southern Turkey partially collapsed on Monday.  

According to CNN, “Some of the bastions in the east, south, and southeast parts of the historical Gaziantep Castle in the central Şahinbey district were destroyed by the earthquake, the debris was scattered on the road,”. “The iron railings around the castle were scattered on the surrounding sidewalks. The retaining wall next to the castle also collapsed. In some bastions, large cracks were observed.” Next to the castle, the dome and eastern wall of the historical Şirvani Mosque built in the 17th century, have reportedly partially collapsed. 

The twelve bastions, which are thought to have been built in the mid-500s during the rule of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, stood for centuries before Monday’s violent 7.8 earthquakes destroyed several of them. The Gaziantep Defense and Heroism Panoramic Museum, which drew a lot of visitors, was formerly housed in the castle.  

The ancient city of Aleppo, which has already been devastated by the Syrian civil war, is one of the most valuable antiquity remnants in the world, and Syria and Turkey are both home to numerous UNESCO world heritage sites. 

There are concerns that the two earthquakes that occurred on Monday may have damaged other priceless monuments in Turkey and Syria, two countries with a rich cultural heritage, as a result of the partial destruction of a Roman-era castle in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. 

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