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Near East: Supermarket built over ancient city of Myrleia
A supermarket has been built on top of the ancient city of Myrleia, dating back to 700 BC, in the western Turkish province of Bursa, despite ongoing court cases related to the protection of the area.

Supermarket built over ancient city of Myrleia
A supermarket construction site atop the ruins of the ancient city of Myrelia, dating back
 to the seventh century B.C., in Bursa province [Credit: DHA]

Bursa Municipality had granted tourism and trading construction permits for a 60,000-square meter area above the ancient city, after which a branch of the supermarket chain store Kipa was built. Parts of the ancient site are now being held in the basement of the supermarket.

Uluda─č University’s Archaeology Department discovered pieces of ancient ceramics on the surface near the area in 2010, after which they requested the Bursa Culture and Natural Heritage Preservation Board to declare the area a 1st degree conservation site. After assessing the land, the Preservation Board declared the area to be a 3rd degree archaeological site, meaning fewer restrictions in the use of land than initially requested.

In 2012, the Tesco Kipa Marketing Company received permission from the Mudanya Municipality for construction of a supermarket at the site. During the construction of the supermarket, a number of sculptures and the wall of the ancient city dating back to 700 BC were discovered.

Municipality grants construction permit

A group of locals demanded that the Bursa First Administrative Court stop the construction, but the Bursa Municipality then granted permission for a new plan for the construction of business places on a 10,000-square meter area at the site, while the court case was still ongoing.

Supermarket built over ancient city of Myrleia
Ruins of the ancient city of Myrelia beneath the supermarket [Credit: Hurriyet]

A nearby 50-kilometer area on the coast of the Marmara Sea was also opened to construction as a tourism space, after Bursa Municipality’s plans were accepted by the Bursa Culture and Natural Heritage Preservation Board.

The 20-meter-long Myrleia city wall that was unearthed during the construction, as well as other ancient artifacts, are now being held inside glass containers in the basement of the supermarket.

“It is a catastrophe for the area to be open to constructions while the legal dispute for the demolishing of the supermarket is still continuing,” said Hakan Karademir, the president of the Bursa Urban Planning Association.

“When we observe the construction plan, we can see that a 50,000-square meter area, which is of social value for commercial tourism, has been declared a residential area, as well as other parts of the ancient city. We will seek legal means for the abolition of this plan,” Karademir added.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [September 01, 2014]

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