A Genoese Ottoman castle in İzmir’s Foça district has recently opened following one year of restoration, while providing lessons to other restorers about how to restore historical buildings.
Because the castle walls were reinforced during the restoration without using cement, the castle has succeeded in being included on UNESCO’s Temporary List of World Heritage Sites.
The previous restoration of the castle was made in 1993 with concrete, prompting many to say the edifice resembled a rebuilt concrete house, despite the expenditure of thousands of liras. The castle was also restored in 1983.
But with the recent restoration that was made with the help of scientific data, the castle regained its unique historic appearance.
Professor Ömer Özyiğit, the project coordinator of the scientific restoration, completed the process for a fraction of the price, while İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu provided logistics and financial support for the restoration.
Özyiğit determined 11 principles before commencing the restoration, the most important of which was to eschew cement. The restoration was made with Khorasan and soil mortar, whose formula was discovered by Özyiğit.
Arguing that the castle could resist thousands of years of environmental conditions, Özyiğit said they faithfully restored the castle’s towers to their original while adding that the original stones found in archaeological excavations were used in the walls of the castle.
Previous attempts to restore the castle had resulted in a “fake” appearance, Kocaoğlu added.