Great Palace

HKFK-05-Y-II

Büyük Saray
Büyük Saray

It is obvious that the palace had a major place in the administrative and cultural life of Hasankeyf. With its topographic position convenient for defence and a spectacular architecture overlooking the view, it is a landmark building. Based on its architectural features, it is estimated that it was used as a military post during the Roman Period, and it was re-arranged during the Artuqid and Ayyubid Periods as a palace. However, after being abandoned as a result of fires and earthquakes long years ago, it has become a storage facility for waste materials, and filled with piles of dirt and debris .

Designed not only for administrative purposes, but also as a military post which undertook defense of the citadel and housed guards units, the complex consists of large interconnected corridors and halls, rooms in different sizes and independent units . While the main outer wall was erected with block cut stones, towers and most of the indoors with round-arched party walls, bricks were used for construction of the roofing systems. Partial demolition and structural cracks are observed in the arches and walls, which were built by reducing the levels in steps from the highest parts on the south towards the north. Furthermore, two different layers of fire were identified in great portion of the building. The floors of the rooms are not flat as they were formed by terracing the rock masses .

The gate and towers on the northern façade of the building have become deformed to a great extent, and stones have been eroded and demolished .

The inner part of the building, and top cover of all rooms have collapsed and filled with piles of debris up to the roof level. In 2005, an extensive excavation campaign was initiated in order to uncover all units of the palace designed as a complex building to a certain level.

The excavations at the Great Palace was initially planned in two stages. The first stage included bringing the building out by removing all piles of debris and dirt, which accumulated in front of the outer walls and exceeded 2.00 m at some points while the second stage included excavations in the interior structures of the building.

Bracing and reinforcement activities were performed within the scope of the 2010 Excavation Program. The bracing and reinforcement project was prepared by an expert team for any interventions required to continue excavations in a safe way and sustain the building. For this purpose, on-site examinations were conducted between July 22th and 24th, 2009. The conditions of the walls and openings scheduled for excavation was identified. The examinations and part of these partial strengthening, reinforcement and bracing activities required to provide a safe working environment during the excavations were carried out during the 2010 campaign .