Art

Istanbul’s 2,500-year-old Serpent Column under restoration

Istanbul’s 2,500-year-old Serpent Column under restoration

Monitoring Desk

Restoration and conservation works have started for the 2,500-year-old Serpent Column, one of the oldest structures of Istanbul in the famous Sultanahmet square. The restoration work is expected to be completed within one month following the completion of the repair of the cracks on the column, cleaning of dye stains and landscaping.

An aerial view from the Serpent Column restoration at Sultanahmet square, Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2021. (DHA)
A general view from the Serpent Column restoration, Sultanahmet square, Istanbul, March 29, 2021. (DHA)

At the victory of the long-lasting warm of the Battle of Plataea between the Persian Empire and the Greek city-states around Western Anatolia and the Aegean Sea in 478 B.C., Greeks started works to build a monument to commemorate their freedom. The Serpent Column, a part of an ancient Greek sacrificial tripod, was originally erected in the Temple of Apollon in Delphi and relocated to Constantinople by Roman Emperor Constantine I, also known as Constantine the Great in 324.

A close-up of the hands of a restorer while working at the Serpent Column restoration, Sultanahmet square, Istanbul, March 29, 2021. (DHA)
Irem Bülbül poses during the restoration of the Serpent Column, Sultanahmet square, Istanbul, March 29, 2021. (DHA)

The artifact, which has lost many parts, has been standing in Sultanahmet square for centuries. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) has started restoration and conservation work on the column recently. Chief architect Irem Bülbül, IBB Directorate of Cultural Assets Projects Assistant Director, said: “The Serpent Column is our most important bronze work in Istanbul. The monument is made of three snakes wrapped around each other. The three snakeheads on the column were in normal conditions until the 16th-17th century and were later destroyed. One of the snakeheads was found during an excavation in the 19th century and it is on display at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums.”

The current state of the Serpent Column. (Wikimedia)
The current state of the Serpent Column. (Wikimedia)

Stating that they, as the IBB team, continue to work in Sultanahmet square, Bülbül said, “We have a metal protective area around the monuments here. We can see the original floor inside it. We start by revealing the floor and sidewalls and restoring the protective area.” She added that they will perform a completely conservative intervention by preserving the corrosion on the metal and the original patina for the column.

Courtesy: Dailysabah

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