Ancient Diyarbakir City Walls Being Dismantled & Used To Build Cafes.

The stones of the Diyarbakır City Walls are being dismantled and sold. Architect Arif Ipek warns that if measures are not taken, the damage will be immense, quotes Turkish sources as saying.

The architect says the stones on the ground are not a result of collapse and that fresh traces prove that the stones have deliberately been dismantled. 

Ipek says the stones have been used in the construction of cafes and restaurants in Sur, as well as for interior decoration. Ipek warns that if necessary precautions are not taken, the destruction will continue to increase and said “there should be a serious sanction for the sale of these stones.”

The Diyarbakir city walls have an ancient history being first built in 297 AD by Romans under the order of Constantius II. Over the next 1,500 years, these walls were expanded and fortified using volcanic rock from the surrounding region. This black basalt lent the name “Black Fortress,” which is what many military leaders called the city. The black exterior of the walls is only surface deep. The walls hide a complex network of tunnels, barracks and storage rooms.

There are four main gates and 82 watch towers on the walls. The towers at Diyarbakir were mainly built by the Romans, albeit reconstructed by the Ottomans when they took over the city in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Today, the walls are largely intact, and form a ring around the old city that is over 3 miles in circumference. The walls are over 33 feet high and are about 10-16 feet thick.

They are the widest and longest complete defensive walls in the world after only the Great Wall of China. UNESCO added the building to their tentative list on 2000, and listed it as a World Heritage Site in 2015.

H/T Public Radio of Armenia

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