Historical stone houses in Çelê destroyed

The restoration of 7 of the historical stone houses in Çelê (Çukurca) in the province of Hakkari was not carried out in accordance with the original, and 14 houses were abandoned to their fate.

Restoration works of Çukurca Castle and historical stone houses, located on a hill overlooking Çukurca city center, were limited to only 7 houses. They were restored under the name of ‘boutique hotels’ and restaurants, and their historical texture was destroyed. The remaining houses have disappeared.

Many historical buildings have survived to the present day in Çukurca, where nature and history are intertwined. Among these historical structures are the stone houses built on the outskirts of the castle in the city center of Çukurca. Houses made of cut stone are mostly two-storey. The upper floor has living rooms and bedrooms. On the lower floors of the houses, there is a cellar and a bathroom, which can be accessed by stairs.

Works initiated by the then HDP Çukurca Municipality in 2010 to restore the stone houses in accordance with their original and historical texture were blocked by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 7 out of 21 houses were restored in order to build a boutique hotel, cafe, restaurant and social equipment area, but their historical texture was destroyed. The remaining 14 houses were abandoned to their fate.

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Çukurca District co-chair, Ismail Akkaya, said: "Only 7 of the 21 houses were restored and this was done just to show that they were doing something. If their aim was to protect historical buildings, all of the houses would be restored according to their original form and given to the people of Çukurca. Today, 14 of these precious houses are basically destroyed.”