A market which once served locals of the ancient city of Stratonikeja in Turkey’s southwest for centuries, known as the “city of gladiators,” has been set up again half a century after it was evacuated.

The site, which was abandoned after an evacuation in Stratonikeja in 1950, is one of the largest ancient marble cities of the world. Located in the Eskihisar neighborhood of the Aegean province of Mugla’s Yatagan district, it has been revived with events being held in the city.

 In the market, set up near the 15th-century Saban Aga Mosque at the entrance of the ancient city, organic products grown in the region and handicrafts of women of nearby villages are sold.

Officials are continuing works to make the market run permanently.

Visitors of the ancient city shop from stores dating back to the Caria, Roman, Seljuk, Ottoman and republican eras.

The city is a UNESCO world heritage site, attracting more and more visitors every year with newly unearthed artifacts and structures, the head of the excavation works at Stratonikeja, Bilal Sogut, said, adding that there are also remains from more recent times close to the marketplace.

The city has managed to maintain cobblestones left from the Ottoman times, with visitors walking on the same stones people hundreds of years ago walked on.

“We are conducting works on the different eras of Stratonikeja. We are carrying out excavation, restoration and conservation works in the city. We want to protect the intangible cultural heritage and their stories beyond the concrete works,” he said.

Sogut said settlements in Stratonikeja, renamed Eskihisar in the republic period, were moved 68 years ago and only a few residences stayed after that.

“Until 1950, the biggest market was set up in the village square. Now we have attempts to create a market where people can sell their organic products. We want to keep it alive as long as this place is protected. This way, more people will visit the city,” he said.

Source:  Hurriyet Daily News

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