Turkey to open Roman castle to tourism

14:19 • 27.07.17

Rumkale (Roman Castle), which was home to many civilizations throughout history and an important center for early Christianity as it is known to be a place where the copies of the Bible were reproduced, will be open to tourism.

Rumkale, which straddles the boundary between the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep’s Nizip and Yavuzeli districts and Şanlıurfa’s Bilecik and Halfeti districts, is located on a hill surrounded with rocks in the region where Merzimen Stream flows into the Euphrates. It is home to structures from the Urartu, Babylon, Sumerian, Seljuk and Ottoman eras, Hurriyet Daily News reports. 

The castle and its vicinity also draw tourists thanks to its natural beauties along the banks of the Euphrates
River, particularly in spring months. 

Johannes, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, is said to have settled in Rumkale during the Roman era and reproduced copies of the Bible in a rock-carved room. 

The area was occupied by various Byzantine and Armenian warlords during the Middle Ages. The castle served as the seat of an Armenian patriarch in the 12th century.

From 1203 to 1293, it was the residence of the supreme head (Catholicos) of the reunified Armenian Church. In 1293, it was captured by the Mamluks of Egypt, following a protracted siege.

Restoration works that have been carried out by the Culture and Tourism Ministry have come to an end in the eastern and western walls of the castle as well as in the Barşavma Monastery, which was built in the 13th century in the north of the castle. 

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin said the Euphrates has always been an advantage for the region throughout history.

She said the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality has been implementing various projects for historical structures to serve tourism and Rumkale is one of these projects.

“Euphrates is very important to us because we want to manage the water well. In this term, Euphrates is our biggest experience. The biggest civilizations in the world were born around the Euphrates. Zeugma, which is on the UNESCOTentative list of World Heritage Sites, and its historical culture and cultural heritage is around the Euphrates, too. Rumkale is located at the center of the Euphrates and the ministry has almost finished the restoration there. There are houses built before and during the Republican era. Their restorations have been finished, too,” Shahin said.


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