Jan 12 2019

Restoration plan for Istanbul’s Valens Aqueduct prompts concerns

The Valens Aqueduct, a symbol of Turkey’s Istanbul, will be restored by the metropolitan city’s municipality water management authority, along with two other historical arches, Turkish left-wing Birgün newspaper reported on Thursday.

The water channel,  known as the Bozdoğan Arch and located Fatih district of Istanbul on the Asian side of the city, was a part of a large water transportation system whose construction was started by the Roman Emperor Konstantin, but completed by Valens to meet the water demand of Istanbul’s old city.

The aqueduct carrying water to the city for almost twenty centuries in the Late Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods is the oldest aqueduct of Istanbul. 

Some parts of the aqueduct previously went into restoration in 2014 and the result created an outrage as modern red bricks were used on some parts of the arch, which according to experts was a violation of restoration rules.

The mistakes made during the restoration of the Bozdoğan Arch is only one of the many examples of what some call restoration disasters in Turkey.

In a widely known case, the restoration of a historic castle in Istanbul’s Şile district received harsh criticisms in 2015, with many on social media likening the outcome to the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants.

Another example that was condemned by many was the restoration of Vilayet mosque in İstanbul’s old city centre. Some social media users said the mosque put pyjamas on after restoration

Many in Turkey expressed their concerns after news broke out that that Valens Aqueduct would undergo restoration. 

Some users on Twitter voiced their despair after the news. 

“We used to run on it,” one Turkish man on Twitter said. “There is nothing they have touched and left without destroying,” he added referring to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“Farewell to you too,” another Twitter user said.

One Twitter user reminded that people of Istanbul now have limited time to take selfies and family photos with the view of the arch.

Others on social media shared their expectations on what would happen to the Valens Aqueduct after the restoration.

“Be calm friends,” one man said. “They will only put a a glass facade on Bozdoğan Arch. And photoelectric glass door will be put on those unnecessary holes. They will close when there is wind, open when it ends.”  

Another user proposed a new name for the Bozdoğan Arch: Historical Golden Foiled Arch.

One twitter user shared a project proposal of an architecture firm developed the restoration of the arch.