The process was initiated to bring the Altar of Zeus, whose parts were smuggled to Germany in the 1800s, to Bergama, its homeland. The road map of the process, which will be carried out jointly by the Ministry of Culture, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and Bergama Municipality, was determined at a meeting held in Bergama today. President Soyer said, “They say the stone is heavy on the ground. "We will bring this work back to its homeland and regain its roots," he said.
İzmir Metropolitan Mayor Tunç Soyer held a meeting with broad participation in Bergama Cultural Center to determine the road map for bringing the Zeus Altar, whose parts were smuggled to Germany in the 1800s, to Bergama, its homeland.
In addition to President Soyer, Neptün Soyer, Head of Izmir Village Cooperation Union, Ambassador Gökçen Kaya, Minister of Foreign Affairs İzmir Representative, Former Minister of Culture and Tourism Suat Çağlayan, Mayor of Bergama Hakan Koştu, Mayor of Dikili Adil Kırgöz, Former Mayor of Bergama Sefa Taşkın, officials of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, İzmir Provincial Director of Culture and Tourism Murat Karaçanta, non-governmental organizations, managers of professional chambers, academicians and bureaucrats of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality attended.
"This journey will result in victory"
President Soyer, who made the opening speech, said that when the deep-rooted legacy of Bergama is told to the whole world, the demand to return the Zeus Altar can be met.
Stating that they set out to bring the Zeus Altar, which was brought to Germany from Bergama in the 19th century, to our country and to Bergama, President Soyer emphasized the importance of coming together with the representatives of the government, local administrators, academicians and non-governmental organizations inside the Zeus Altar. “We are very excited. I wish this journey will result in victory. They say the stone is heavy in its place. We will bring this artifact back to its homeland and regain its roots. This is a journey, there will be many legal and political obstacles before us. But continuing this journey will also be an opportunity for Bergama to find the value it deserves and to reveal its potential. We believe this is our just cause. This journey itself will be an opportunity to show the world how precious Bergama, this beautiful and ancient geography is. I would like to express my gratitude to all my comrades with whom we will cooperate after today ”.
Free Bergama tours are starting
Pointing out that the declaration regarding the return of the Zeus Altar contains important clues about the road map, Soyer said, “For this, we will be in coordination with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We know that if we act together, we will get closer to the result. I propose to hold the next meeting in Ankara, again with the participation of representatives of non-governmental organizations and municipalities. Let's make a plan about both the legal process that needs to be carried out and raising awareness. "This process should proceed as a process that will increase awareness about Bergama." Mayor Soyer said that they will start free Izmir-Bergama tours starting from April and said, “We will also offer free shuttle service from Izmir to the producer market in Bergama. As Metropolitan, we will do whatever we need to do about the restoration works related to Bergama. Because this process has a historical and cultural value as well as an importance for the tourism sector. It is necessary to grow the bread of the people living in this geography. On İzmir billboards, under the title of 'The World's İzmir Heritage', our Bergama district will also be promoted. Thus, we will increase the awareness of Bergama. We will introduce Bergama first inside and then outside. We want to take a Pergamon Exhibition around the world starting from Europe. We must carry out a work that will enable people to see our righteousness with public pressure. Our righteousness is very clear, but everyone should know that. We are in the right place at the right time. A lot of effort has been made in the past, but we will proceed much faster. Our path is open, we will bring the Zeus Altar back to these lands ”.
"We have shown our will"
Mayor of Bergama, Hakan Koştu said, “Bergama, which has hosted many important works from the Hellenistic age to the Ottoman period, has been accepted as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. This ancient city, about which countless books have been written, produced countless works and magnificent monuments in history, science and art. The most important of these is the Zeus Altar, which is thousands of kilometers away from its homeland. He has been away from his homeland for 140 years. Altar of Zeus is the most important work of antiquity and one of the priceless examples of Bergama sculpture school. The Zeus Altar, whose foundation is in Bergama, is a masterpiece of uniquely beautiful Anatolian people. We believe that the Zeus Altar that we are trustees belongs to these lands. This work, which has been in Germany for many years, should return to its homeland. We started an important work in 2020 to bring this work to Bergama. This is a long term job. In this process, we have shown our will as local governments. Our government is also in this desire. We will bring the Zeus Altar to Bergama ”.
"Every work is beautiful in its place"
In the meeting led by Nezih Özuyar, Member of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Council, Prof. Dr. Ali Sönmez explained the historical process in which the Zeus Altar was taken from Bergama to Germany. Journalist Ömer Erbil, on the other hand, referring to the fact that this work for the Zeus Altar is supra-party, said, “We do not know what international law will allow, but as people of Bergama, we can make a great campaign. We must tell this to all of Europe. We should tell that the parts of the Zeus Altar were taken to Germany for 18 years. "There is a recommendation by UNESCO saying," Every work is beautiful in its place. "
"A long-term study"
Özgür İrkin, Director of the Domestic Anti-Smuggling Branch of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said, “We are very happy that so many precious people are together for the protection of cultural assets. Ministry bureaucrats, local administrators, representatives of non-governmental organizations are together. I have been working for the return of cultural assets for 15 years. The decision regarding the Zeus Altar was taken at the Metropolitan Council meeting on 12 August. Diplomatic and cultural conditions must be ripe for the return of works. The return processes of cultural assets can be very long. It is important that metropolitan and surrounding municipalities work with the Ministry on this issue. We can work together with the metropolitan and district municipalities to prevent cultural assets from going abroad, ”he said.
The final declaration has been announced
The final declaration was announced at the end of the Zeus Altar meeting. In this context, ensuring the promotion and perception of Bergama by circulating a Bergama Exhibition in Europe, starting restoration and restitution activities in the places to be determined in Bergama, allocating the Vault and the structure above it to the Zeus Altar Working Group, preparation It was decided to include definitions expressing the importance of the Altar of Zeus in the Bergama / UNESCO 2022-2024 Site Management Plan, which is in its phase, and the next meeting to be held with the experts of the subject in order to reinforce the technical details in the legal process.
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Council unanimously decided at its meeting dated August 12, 2020 to start the work to bring the Altar of Zeus back to its homeland, Bergama.