Soli Pompeiopolis in Turkey to serve as open-air museum
The ancient city of Soli Pompeiopolis will serve as an open-air museum or archeopark in the southern province of Mersin in Turkey.
As the 23rd season of excavations has come to an end in the ancient city under the leadership of Remzi Yağcı, a faculty member at Dokuz Eylül University in the western province of Izmir, archaeologists are working to transform the ancient site in archeopark.
“Our goal is to link the areas we excavate and turn this place into an archaeopark,” archaeologist Yağcı told Anadolu Agency (AA) at the excavation site.
During the last excavations, the memorial tomb of the famous Greek astronomer and poet Aratus was completely unearthed in the ancient city, which served as a major port in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC, and contains millennial columns preserved to the present day. The excavation team will include 20 people next year, help with landscaping the area and carry out restoration work, Yağcı said.
“Turning the ancient city into an archeopark will stimulate interest in the site,” he said. “People will be able to see anything that can be found in an ancient city.”
“(Visitors) will make the connection between the monumental structures above and below the ground. When they enter the port, they will see that it is one of the largest in the eastern Mediterranean and that the sea comes to the south of the colonnaded street, ”he added.
Emphasizing that the site would become the “focal point of educational activities in the region”, he said, “we are going to put people face to face with history”.
The history of the site dates back to the Neolithic period
Next year, archaeologists plan to work on the harbor, the colonnaded street, a mound found in the ancient city, and a Roman bath that had been demolished by earthquakes and other external factors.
“Considering the places we have excavated, we see that the history of Soli dates back to the Neolithic period, just like that of the Yumuktepe mound,” Yağcı said, referring to the excavations near the ancient Yumuktepe site dating back to from 7000 BC. located in the town of Mersin.
“All the archaeological layers from the Neolithic to the present day are here,” added the archaeologist.
Soli ‐ Pompéiopolis was also one of the important ports of the Cicilia region in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. In the 4th century BC, it was under the influence of the Persians. However, the fact that they minted their own coins shows their autonomy under Persian rule.
After Alexander the Great drove the Persians out of Cicilia, Soli-Pompeiiopolis fell under the rule of the Kingdom of Macedonia and then the Seleucid Empire. The ancient city lived its heyday during the Hellenistic period under Seleucid rule.