Project Description

Heritage of Ahlat: Seljuk Meydanlık Graveyard

The district of Ahlat, located on the northwestern edge of Lake Van in the province of Bitlis, is home to the largest historic Muslim Cemetery in the world: a Seljuk cemetery with six different zones of graves. Selçuklu Meydanlık Graveyard, the largest of these zones, date to the 13th century and is currently used as an open-air museum. The main idea in the project for preserving the graveyard and its natural assets for the future is to preserve the gravestones, monumental tombs, cist graves with or without grave markers, and sarcophagi using natural elements, continuing to enable the communication between life and death, as well as death and the visitor. The grave markers can reach a height of four meters. The surroundings of the Meydanlık Graveyard have been planted with the hydroseeding method.
For the hard landscape, natural materials such as wood, wooden traverse, natural stone plaques and soil were used. It was aimed that vista frames, terraces, the vista hill, entrance squares as well as the sitting and resting areas were unified with the natural vegetation, as well as the newly-proposed planting design.
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Project Details
  • InstitutionRepublic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums
  • LocationBitlis, Turkey
  • Year2011
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