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Multiple Ancient, Medieval Castles And Mosques Damaged by Devastating Turkish Earthquake

© AFP 2023 / Rami al SayedРазрушения после землетрясения в сирийском Джандарисе
Разрушения после землетрясения в сирийском Джандарисе  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.02.2023
On Monday, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake originating in Turkey shook the surrounding areas, significantly damaging cities in Turkey and parts of Syria. Thousands have been killed in Syria and Turkey, with Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay saying the nation's death has surpassed 2,300.
The deadly earthquake that killed thousands in Turkey and Syria early Monday also damaged multiple ancient and medieval castles throughout the area.
In Turkey, the Gaziantep castle, about 20.7 miles (33.3 kilometers) from the earthquake’s epicenter, suffered significant damage.
“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,” reported Turkish state media Anadolu.
In pictures posted on social media, the castle appears to have nearly vanished from the hill it stood on for millennia.
The Gaziantep castle was built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, also known as Justinian the Great, who reigned from 527-565 A.D.; however, the site was used as a defensive fortification long before. Archeologist believe the site originally hosted a watch tower during the Roman period as early as 200 A.D.
The nearby Şirvani Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Gaziantep, suffered significant damage as well. According to Anadolu, its eastern wall and dome have also partially collapsed.
According to Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, roughly 1,700 buildings were damaged across 10 Turkish cities.
Rescue workers and medical teams try to reach trapped residents in a collapsed building following an earthquake in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey, early Monday, Feb. 6, 2023.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.02.2023
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Meanwhile, in the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo, an even older fortification was damaged. The citadel, designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO, was already damaged by years of fighting in the city during the last decade. During the earthquake, the dome that sits on top of a minaret inside the Citadel’s mosque collapsed. There is also a large crack running along the tower and the entrance to the Citadel also suffered damage.
It is believed most of the structures still standing on the site were built during the Ayyubid dynasty that controlled the area from 1169 to 1260 A.D. But the hill the citadel rests on is believed to have hosted temples and defensive fortifications since at least the third millennium B.C.
Also in Syria, the Al-Marqab Castle, which sits south of the city of Baniyas was reportedly damaged in the earthquake.
The Al-Marqab Castle served as a major stronghold for the Knights Hospitaller during the later Crusades. However, according to Arab historians, it was first fortified by Muslims in 1062, who continued to hold it even after Christian nations controlled the surrounding area after the first Crusades.
Surveys of the area found that “some buildings” inside the castle were damaged, while parts of its walls and a tower collapsed during the earthquake. At least 156 people died in the Aleppo province alone when 46 buildings collapsed in the area.
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