Turkey: Jewish cemetery unearthed during works

According to 'Hurriyet' gravestones, bones from ancient Turkish Jewish cemetery were unearthed during construction work in Izmir.

May 1, 2013 15:21
Izmir Uhr-Turm

Izmir Uhr-Turm 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Gravestones and bones from an ancient Turkish Jewish cemetery were unearthed during construction work.

The remains in the Turkish city of Izmir were found more than 20 feet below the ground, during construction work on an underground tunnel, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Wednesday.

According to Hurriyet, the gravestones were left in the ground and the bones were delivered to representatives of Izmir's Jewish community.

The bones will be reburied in the Altındağ Jewish Cemetery, which remains open to Jewish burials, Jak Kaya, chairman of the Izmir Jewish community, told Hurriyet.

The cemetery disturbed by the construction work served the Jewish community during the 19th century, Kaya told Hurriyet.

The community has sent a letter to Turkey's Culture Ministry requesting permission for the removal and transfer of the gravestones, according to Hurriyet.

Izmir was home to about 40,000 Jews in 1868, making it the third largest Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire, after Salonika and Istanbul, according to Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People. There are now about 2,400 Jews in Izmir.

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