Ancient gymnasium becomes open-air museum
The 1800-year-old gymnasium unearthed in the western province of İzmir during construction works will be converted into an open-air museum. The İzmir Directorate of Museums under the Culture and Tourism Ministry then performed a salvage excavation on the site. During the excavation works, an ancient harbor bath, an imperial salon, shops and storage spaces from the second century were unearthed.
According to archeologist Nezih Başgelen, the harbor bath and gymnasium, dating back to the Roman era, is exclusive to Anatolia. Başgelen said that the ruins were built after İzmir was destructed by a major earthquake after 177 A.D.
The remains of the historical artifacts were discovered in 2016 when a firm demolished a 120-year-old business center in the Konak district in a bid to replace it with a newer center. Following the discovery, the construction was immediately stopped. Since the ruins were prone to physical, chemical and biological degradation, demands on transforming the archeological site into an open-air museum emerged.
In order to prevent any floods in the archeological site, a drainage system will be set up and after the restoration and conservation works are finalized, the museum’s establishment will commence.
Meanwhile, the mosaics at the archeological site will be covered with glasses, to prevent any damage from weather conditions. The museum will also include information panels, observation decks and walking trails along with cafés, restaurants and an education area.