The Turkish authorities are relocating a series of ancient monuments to make way for a controversial new dam, which will flood one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world.
The 800-year-old, 1,500-tonne Artuklu Hamam is currently being wheeled out of Hasankeyf, an ancient city that sits on the banks of the Tigris River and traces its history back 10,000 years.
The bathhouse will join the town’s 15th-century Zeynel Bey tomb, which was relocated last year, in an “open-air museum” near New Hasankeyf, where residents are being relocated, many reluctantly. It is understood other monuments will follow.
The Ilisu Dam will displace an estimated 70,000 people in the mainly Kurdish Batman Province in south-east Turkey. International funding was pulled from the project in 2009 after it was deemed global standards were not being met.
Conservationists, archaeologists and residents have campaigned hard against the project, claiming it will destroy livelihoods, wildlife and thousands of years of human history.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been fiercely critic of the hydroelectric dam, has attacked infrastructure related to the project in protest.
However, the Turkish government has ploughed on regardless, claiming the project will spur development in the region.
Construction on the dam is now almost complete, which means it won’t be long before the valley is flooded and Hasankeyf slips silently beneath the water.
The city’s surviving monuments aren’t the only historic buildings to be moved from their original location. Here are 10 other landmarks that have been relocated.
1. London Bridge, England
The original London Bridge, built in 1831 by engineer John Rennie, was dismantled in 1967 and shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Sold by the City of London, as it became too weak to support the increased load of modern traffic, the bridge’s 19th century masonry now adorns a reinforced concrete structure over the Arizona city’s Bridgewater Channel Canal.
A replacement was built in 1971, 30 metres upstream from its original position.
2. Marble Arch, England
Built in 1827 at the front of Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch was dismantled in 1847 and rebuilt as a ceremonial entrance to the northeast corner of Hyde Park, after work began to enlarge the palace to house Queen Victoria’s growing court.
When Park Lane was widened in the 1960s, Marble Arch became stranded on the lonely traffic island it inhabits today.
3. Abu Simbel, Egypt
Part of the World Heritage Site known as the Nubian Monuments, these two temples were carved into the rock at Abu Simbel, southern Egypt, by Pharaoh Ramesses II to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh in the 13th century BC.
In 1968, to save the complex from the rising waters of Lake Nasser – the reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile – the entire site was cut into large blocks, dismantled and then reassembled on an artificial hill 200 metres back from the river and on ground 65 metres higher.
4. St Bernard de Clairvaux, Spain
A medieval Spanish monastery believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the Western hemisphere, St Bernard de Clairvaux was built in Segovia, Spain, in the 12th century but dismantled in 1925 and shipped to America.
The church’s cloister, chapter house and refectory were purchased by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, dismantled and then packaged into 11,000 wooden crates. After a stay in American quarantine due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Segovia, the carefully numbered contents of the crates were unpacked and repacked without the original diligence.
Plans to rebuild the church in California floundered and it was eventually rebuilt in northern Miami after spending decades in a storage facility in New York. It took 19 months and cost $1.5 million to reassemble the monastic buildings and is now a tourist attraction known as the Ancient Spanish Monastery.
5. Hamilton Grange National Memorial, US
The former home of US founding father, Alexander Hamilton, has been relocated twice in its relatively brief life. The first move came in the late 19th century when it was decided the Manhattan mansion should be demolished to allow for the development of the city’s famous grid system.
A local church – St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Greenwich Village – bought the property and relocated it a few blocks out of harm’s way. The church’s endeavours were rewarded in 1960, when the house was designated a National Historic Monument.
But this would not be its final resting place and in 2008 the house was relocated once again, this time to St Nicholas Park, 500 feet down the road.
6. Empire Theatre, US
Once a Broadway playhouse, now an extravagant lobby, the Empire Theatre opened on 42nd Street, New York, in 1912, as the Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre. It was renamed the Empire Theatre in 1954 after incarnations as a burlesque theatre, light comedy venue and cinema.
In 1998, as part of a renovation of 42nd street, the entire theatre was lifted off its foundations and moved west 52 metres. The original theatre is now the entrance hall for a 25-screen cinema multiplex, the AMC Empire 25.
7. Warder Mansion, US
The only surviving building in Washington DC by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, Warder Mansion was built in 1888 and subsequently saved from demolition in 1923, by fellow architect George Oakley Totten Jr.
Totten Jr. dismantled the Meridian Hill Park building and moved it one and a half miles north; legend has it he transported the building piece by piece in his Model T Ford.
8. Berlin Victory Column, Germany
Built to commemorate Prussia’s 1864 victory in the Danish-Prussian War, the gilded Berlin Victory Column once loomed large over Platz der Republik (formerly Königsplatz), the square directly in front of the Reichstag.
However, in 1939, as part of Adolf Hitler’s radical and rather presumptuous plan to turn Berlin into Welthauptstadt Germania (“World Capital Germania”), the column was shifted to its present location in the centre of Großer Stern, which is essentially a giant roundabout.
The monument was also augmented by another 7.5 metres, thus increasing its height to 66.89 metres. The relocation of the column probably saved it from destruction during the Second World War.
9. Cudecom Building, Colombia
The 7,000-tonne building in Bogotá, Colombia, was moved 30 metres on steel rollers in 1974 to make way for a new avenue. The relocation was in the Guinness Book of World Records for 30 years as the heaviest building ever moved intact.
The operation was carried out without insurance as the architect of the relocation was confident of the project’s success. He told Lloyds of London: “If I thought there was any chance of failure, I would not have attempted it.”
10. Fu Gang Building, China
Showing a rare enthusiasm for preserving old buildings, Chinese authorities in the city of Wuhan relocated the 100-year-old Fu Gang Building to make way for a new development.
The structure was rolled 250 feet to its new home back in 2004; a feat of engineering that robbed Bogota’s Cudecom Building of the bragging rights to being the heaviest building ever moved.
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