545 historical buildings in Istanbul made earthquake resistant

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Drone point of view of the historic Suleymaniye Mosque, one of the masterworks by famed Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, in Istanbul, Turkey. [Muhammed Enes Yıldırım – Anadolu Agency]

A total of 545 historical buildings in Istanbul, Turkiye have been restored to resist earthquakes following the 1999 Izmit earthquake, Anadolu News Agency reports.

The General Directorate of Foundations affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism completed the restoration of 300 historical buildings and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality restored 245.

After the twin earthquakes shook Turkiye on 6 February, the destruction that occurred in 11 Turkish provinces drew attention to Istanbul and the earthquake resistance of the historical buildings in the province came to the fore.

Under the General Directorate of Foundations, mosques, fountains, museums, libraries and tombs continue to be restored in accordance with the guidance of earthquake risk management for historical structures.

In this context, ancestral heirlooms whose restoration and reinforcement work have been completed include the Spice Bazaar, Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque and Hagia Sophia Fatih Madrasa.

Nearly 1.3 billion Turkish liras ($67 million) have been spent on restoration and reinforcement.

The preparation and implementation of restoration projects of all work affiliated with the General Directorate of Foundations is carried out by the Scientific Committee, which consists of architects, civil engineers, art historians and chemists specialised in materials, who are experts in restoration and antiquities.

Sinan Aksu, General Manager of Foundations of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said all restorations are examined in terms of civil and earthquake engineering and reinforcement projects are prepared, if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality carries out the maintenance and repair of cultural properties in Istanbul with expert teams and uses fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) wrapping for some historical structures’ walls, such as those of the Yedikule Gasworks, in order to strengthen them.

Steel tensioners were also used to make structures, such as the Basilica Cistern, resistant to earthquakes.

Restoration work continues on 33 historical buildings, including Rumeli Hisarı Castle.

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