A 5-star hotel and unique archaeological museum

Unexpected archaeological findings could cause a building to be abandoned for conservation purposes, but a 5-star hotel in Turkey has found a way to live in harmony with the thousands-year-old heritage. thanks to a marvel of modern construction techniques .

Picture 1 of A 5-star hotel and unique archaeological museum
On the outside, the Antakya Museum Hotel is like a modern steel building with box-shaped rooms inside.

Antioch's ancient castle was discovered

It all started in 2009 when the wealthy Asfuroglu broke ground to build a hotel on a private plot of land in Antakya city, southern Turkey bordering Syria, when it suddenly discovered the ancient ruins of Antiochia , the city. the second most important Roman Empire after Rome. This is considered the largest and most important archaeological discovery of Turkey since the 1930s.

Immediately plans to build the hotel was suspended to conduct archaeological excavations. But the Asfuroglu family made the bold decision to develop a plan to combine both heritage conservation and new building construction. They partnered with the city government of Antakya and the Hatay Archaeological Museum to implement this unprecedented plan.

After excavation was completed, the entire intact mosaic mosaic of 1,050 square meters was revealed, and it is also the world's largest piece of its kind ever discovered. This is also the focal point of the entire archaeological area with a variety of decorative projects such as spiral, diamond, triangle and hexagonally combined. A corner of this ceramic mosaic is like a giant, vibrant carpet made of small pieces of warm ceramic.

Besides, there are traces of many ancient constructions that are thousands of years old, such as cathedrals, houses and about 35,000 rare artifacts of 13 different civilizations, dating from the 6th century. 3 BC. Among these is the marble statue carved Greek god Eros, the first in the world in complete condition.

With such a world-class heritage, continuing to build a huge hotel above is almost impossible. However, the groundbreaking design of renowned architect Emre Arolat for a steel-framed hotel has solved all of these challenges.

Picture 2 of A 5-star hotel and unique archaeological museum
Traces of many ancient buildings inside the museum.

Unique architecture

When invited to design the hotel in 2010, architect Emre Arolat hesitated and advised the investor to finish the project and resell the land or transfer it to archaeologists. But then he returned to strolling around the excavated area and changed his mind to embark on a sketch of the hotel design hanging above the archaeological site.

Accordingly a steel frame structure with a total weight of about 20,000 tons, 4 times heavier than the Eiffel Tower, is welded to shape in a factory near the city of Istanbul. The components were then transported back to Antakya to frame the hotel and prefabricated box guest rooms were put inside. The cost of this unique hotel construction is up to 120 million USD, 4 times higher than the original estimate due to strict requirements on heritage conservation.

A member of the investor family, Timur Asfuroglu, recounted: "When our brothers discussed the project, most of them did not want to spend such a large amount of money and almost no payback." But then, the head of the family and also the chairman of the family company Necmi Asfuroglu convinced them that this would be "a world-class project and a legacy for humanity." ".

Picture 3 of A 5-star hotel and unique archaeological museum
A corner of the floor contains a large ceramic mosaic of a total of over 1,000 square meters, shaped like a giant and vivid flying carpet.

Both Turkish officials and scientists appreciate the 5-star hotel and museum in Antakya as a rare model that harmonizes personal ambition and public interest, between business priority and Easy access to heritage for everyone. As the name implies, this place has a hotel run by the Asfuroglu family and an archaeological museum section managed by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. But the entire cost of excavation, construction of hotels and museums was paid by the Asfuroglu family.

Earlier this year, the Antakya Museum Hotel was completed after 10 years of excavation and construction, with a scale of 200 rooms suspended above the archaeological site. In addition, in this floating steel complex, there are common spaces such as a reception hall, bar and luxurious restaurants. In particular, the spa here is located right above the original baths from Ancient Rome of Antioch.

The hotel was put into use just before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and soon closed. However, its uniqueness when it converges at the same time such as the masterpiece of construction techniques, unique architecture and the view from above to the world-class 2,000-year-old archeological site causing it to be expected to cause a fever in the second half of this year, when guests pick up again since June.

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