Baths to store history .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;} MUĞLA - Restorations are endless in Turkey. Muğla, being one of the country's historic cities, is host to many renovation projects. The latest is the transformation of a Turkish bath, planned to be made into a research center

A 500-year-old Turkish bath in the Aegean city of Muğla is being transformed into a museum to further cater to tourism in the area.

The project, undertaken by the Muğla Municipality, will see the old baths become home to a research center, where artifacts related to city’s history will also be on display.

Muğla’s mayor, Osman Gürün, said the municipality had recast many structures in the city for tourism purposes and now it was the turn of the creaky old Turkish baths to be turned into a culture center.

The baths, located in the Hamamönü district of the city, were donated to the municipality by the Ercan family, said Gürün and added: "The municipality prepared the renovation project for the historic building and sent it to the council for the protection of cultural and natural heritage." According to the mayor, the process is a long one. After the project’s proposal, the municipality prepared documents for the tender to undertake the transformation.

Supported by a fund
Noting that in the prepared documents there was a fund that earned a 10 percent tax deduction for the maintenance, restoration and beautification of public and historic areas and artifacts, Gürün said: "We applied for the fund from the General Directorate of Foundations. Through the channel of the Muğla Governorship, the general management agreed to contribute and fund 60 percent of the work."

The work to be done on the Turkish baths will be put to tender and after that, there will be at least six months of construction work to be done. "The municipality plans to publish a book on the history of the city and the region by researching related documents," said Gürün and added that the book would be mostly based on documents related to civil servants of the Ottoman Empire.

There will also be conferences, workshops and seminars on this history and information will be published in books. "Those books, which are due to be published, will be archived inside the renovated Turkish baths," said Gürün. In addition to the books, TV programs, video recordings and all the research that is collated will also be stored in the research center.

The project aims to create a center to give scientists and artisans an appropriate place to work. It will provide and A-to-Z of information relating to Muğla, such as the city’s treasures, history, the names of famous people who have lived in the city and the importance and contribution of the city to Turkey’s history.

Archive of the city
"There are criteria to meet in order to be labeled a culture city. One of them is having venues offering information on the city’s past and present. The Turkish baths that give their name to the district, will serve as an archive of the city. We hope that not only tourists and researchers will derive benefit from the center, but also that locals will go and learn something about the place they live in," said Gürün, who added that the archives would generate great excitement among university students.