News, Culture & Society

Six-hundred-year-old mosque split in two and taken on a robot transporter to a new site a mile away

A 15th century mosque in Turkey has been split into three parts and transported by self-propelled robots to its new home.

The final 2,500 ton part of the Eyyubi Mosque was taken out of the ancient town of Hasankeyf in Turkey’s Batman province today after the other two sections were moved earlier this year.

The move comes as Turkey’s fourth biggest dam, Ilısu, is expected to submerge the ancient town of Hasankeyf under swathes of floodwater, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Pictures show the final section of the mosque being hauled in its mile-long journey by powerful robots watched over by construction crews.

The 4,600 tons of mosque has been relocated to the Hasankeyf New Cultural Park Field, a special site designated for the protected structures.

Along with the 610-year-old mosque other cultural artefacts are being removed to the site which was created in 2017.

A colossal stone work called the Zeynel Bey Shrine was moved using similar technology last year. 

The Mayor of Hasankeyf Abdulvahap Kusen said: ‘Works are continuing for the artefacts not to be damaged due to the [flood] waters. The ancient artefacts will come together in the Culture Park near the new residential area,’ the Turkish daily reported.

The town of Hasankeyf was given protected status in 1981 and is home to nearly 6,000 caves.

In addition to the mosque there are other historic structures of Christian and Muslim worship, as well as an ancient Byzantine fortress.

The history of the town can be traced by across nine civilisations and is first mentioned in texts dating back almost 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.

Since 2009 Turkey’s own banks had to finance the building of the dam after Société Générale, UniCredit and DekaBank pulled the plug on credit.

The European Banks advised the Turkish government they would have to meet certain criteria set out by the World Bank, which included environmental protections and resettlement, but the Turkish authorities failed to do so.

Video shows the colossal structure being taken over a culvert by the 352 wheels of the robotic vehicle.