Restoration and conservation works have started for the 2,500-year-old Serpent Column, one of the oldest structures of Istanbul, in Sultanahmet Square in the Fatih district. Following the fixing of the cracks on the column, cleaning the paints, and landscaping, the restoration work is expected to be completed within a month.
Action is taken for the Serpent Column, which was built by the Greeks at the end of the long-lasting war between the Persian Empire and the City-States around Western Anatolia and the Aegean Sea in 478 BC to be presented to Apollo as a reminder of freedom at all times. Restoration and conservation works have been started for the artifact, which has been standing in Sultanahmet Square for centuries and whose many parts have been lost since its early times.
“CONSISTS OF 3 SNAKES COILED TOGETHER”
Stating that they have started the restoration and conservation works of the Serpent Column, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) Department of Cultural Heritage Projects Assistant Director Master Architect Irem Bulbul said, “We have started the restoration and conservation works for the Serpent Column. This is the most important bronze work in Istanbul. The monument consists of 3 snakes coiled together. Originally, there were snakeheads on the column, but they survived until the 16th-17th century and were later destroyed. One of the snakeheads was found in an excavation in the 19th century and it was taken to the Archaeological Museum.
THE PROTECTIVE AREA WILL BE RESTORED; CONSERVATIVE INTERVENTION WILL BE PERFORMED FOR THE COLUMN
Saying that as the IBB Heritage team, they continue to work in Sultanahmet Square Bulbul expressed, “There is a metal protective area around the monuments here. We can also see the original elevation, the old original floor around them. We start by exposing the floor and sidewalls and restoring the protective field. For the column, we perform a completely conservative intervention by preserving the corrosion of the metal and the original patina.”
CRACKS WILL BE FIXED; THE COLOR WILL BE FULLY PRESERVED
Adding that the cracks formed over time on the column will also be fixed, Bulbul said, “We clean the dustiness on the surface and will perform minor interventions to the cracks in some areas. Its green color and patina will be fully preserved. As long as the weather conditions allow, the works will be completed within a month.”
“HAS TAKEN ITS PLACE IN THE MEMORY OF ISTANBUL AS IT IS”
Informing about the preservation of the Serpent Column in a museum Bulbul said, “It is possible to make replicas of many monuments and exhibit the originals in the museum. There is no such decision for the column at the moment. This is a more serious decision that should be taken in consultation with the Protection Board. This is a monument that has taken its place in the memory of Istanbul as it is.”
“WE WILL COMPLETE THE WORK WITH THE PRINCIPLE OF MINIMUM INTERVENTION AND MAXIMUM PROTECTION”
Nazim Can Cihan, who works as a Conservator-Restorer in the IMM Heritage team, said, “Here we continue to work with a team of 6 to 10 people. Since the area is narrow, the number of our employees changes in some days. My coworkers have carried out the dismantling of the newly made plaster on the body wall and then they are opening the joints. I am also dealing with cleaning up some of the dustiness and some paint spills that have formed on the Serpent Column itself over time. Following the overall cleaning, we will complete the conservation and restoration works with the principle of minimum intervention and maximum protection.”