Canal project threatens ancient Ephesus in western Turkey
The ancient city of Ephesus, one of the pearls of Turkey in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Selçuk district, is currently at risk from a projected new "canal" project.
The construction of a so-called “antique canal,” a 6,130-meter long canal that will link the ancient site to the sea, has raised eyebrows among historians and experts.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) İzmir deputy Mahmut Atilla Kaya has announced that the “geotechnical drilling works" - the first phase of the project - have been completed. On Oct. 19 they reached the contract tendering process “with a value of approximately 30 million Turkish Liras,” Kaya said. “Ephesus owed its importance as a trade center to being a harbor city. But alluvial deposits carried by the Marnas Streamlet and the Cayster River [Küçük Menderes] have cut the harbor’s connection to the sea,” said Kaya, stating that the ‘Ephesus Antique Canal Project’ plans to revive the port. “In order to provide yachts with a sea entrance, a 600-meter-long entrance channel, pier structure, short-term yacht anchor area and vehicle and pedestrian bridges will be built in the coast of Pamucak,” he also said. “The entrance channel will be constructed on a concrete foundation and a wall will be built from square-cut blocks of local stone. The geotechnical drilling work has been completed. The mud will be cleaned up to four meters deep by amphibious vehicles. This way, tourism in Ephesus will increase,” said Kaya.
Ephesus, being a harbor city on the shores of the Aegean Sea, has moved nine kilometers away from the sea by alluvium carried by streams over the last 2,500 years.
The second regional director of State Hydraulic Works (DSİ), Ali Fuat Eker, also said they have received a positive report from the Directorate General of Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) by the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry and that “the first phase of the 30-meter-wide entrance channel would cost 30 million Turkish Liras.” “Construction will start in either February or March. The first phase of the project will be completed in March 2019.