Historic castle walls of Malatya to be renovated .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} MALATYA - The ruins of the walls of Malatya Castle are set to undergo preservative reconstruction. About two kilometers in length, the walls were completed during the reign of Roman Emperor Justinianus from 522 to 565.

Selahattin Gürkan, mayor of the Battalgazi district of Malatya where the castle is located, said the reconstruction project will be completed over a long period and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism would hold a public tender Jan. 5 for the project.

Gürkan said reconstruction plans were delayed for a long time because the district did not have a development plan until recently.

"We started working on a development plan when we first assumed our duties. We began by privatizing the first 550 meters of the walls and working on land registries. After this, we entered the project stage. After the project was approved by the Commission on Projects and Monuments, it was forwarded to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. We wanted to start the project as soon as possible and we have managed to get YTL 3 million from the State Planning Organization. Reconstruction will begin as funds become available," he said.

According to historical sources, Malatya Castle was significantly damaged during encounters between the Romans, Sassanis, Byzantians and Arabs. The walls of the castle, however, were restored after these conflicts and survived into the Ottoman era. The castle played an important role in the city's defense up until the 19th century.

The castle, which can be seen from anywhere in Malatya, has 71 bastions and 11 entrances. A large part of the walls that make up the castle have been destroyed and the remaining walls are dilapidated.