Construction reveals Jewish cemetery

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Graves and bones belonging to a Jewish cemetery have been found below the ground during tunnel construction work in Turkey’s province of İzmir (Smyrna).

Construction reveals Jewish cemetery
The remains were found in the area below the Archeology Museum [Credit: DHA/Hurriyet]

The remains were found in the area below the Archaeology Museum, seven meters below the ground. The bones were packed and delivered to Izmir’s Jewish community, while the gravestones were not removed from the ground. A letter requesting authorization for the removal and transfer of the gravestones was submitted to the Culture Ministry as it is the main relevant authority on the subject.

İzmir Jewish Community Chair Jak Kaya said they would bury the bones in Altındağ Jewish Cemetery following a religious ritual. “The excavations are ongoing. Since there is a possibility that more bones might be found, we are suspending the burials. We know that this cemetery had served during the 19th century. It remained open to burials until the Republican period, after which we began to use the Gürçeşme and Altındağ Cemeteries instead,” Kaya said.

In the Sümer neighborhood, where the construction works are ongoing, 39 buildings, including three officially registered heritage buildings, were deemed off limits upon a Cabinet decision. 

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [May 01, 2013]

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