Major renovation efforts worth around 10 million Turkish Liras at Istanbul’s historic Topkapı Palace have started, after deep crevices were found in the treasury room of the Ottoman-era palace in July.
The discovery of the crevices prompted the partial closure of the Ottoman-era palace to tourists.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry had noted that serious cracks on the basement floor and static deformations in the treasury walls went “beyond the crack area and reached the discrete and slit levels.” The ministry risk analysis came after parts of a wall in the nearby Gülhane Park collapsed in April, killing two people and injuring five others.
Measurements were made at the foundation of the building and on its walls to determine the cause of the cracks. Efforts for the static strengthening measurements started last week.
The work comes after palace authorities asked for a detailed examination from the Istanbul 4th Protection Committee, which found that the issue stemmed from ground-based problems.
The expert report said the concrete cover used for the mansion’s dome and ceilings between 1940 and 1960 had put excessive weight on the building, which had reached the point of collapse along with seismic activities that periodically occur in the Marmara Sea.
Authorities say that in its current situation, the building would not survive a 5.0-magnitude earthquake and that a rapid intervention is necessary.
It has also been found that the archive and depot sections suffered from similar problems to the treasury, so the renovation team decided to open drilling and inspection holes in order to carry out soil investigation efforts. Officials will determine how to strengthen the ground after investigating why the ground deformations occurred.
The evaluation of instrumental observations and static results in order to strengthen the ground will cover a six month period.
In line with the renovation process, vibrations in the ground via drilling and inspection holes will be recorded at a total of 26 different points. The renovation work is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.