GAZİANTEP - Located in Tabakhane province near Antep Castle, the Kumandan Fountain sits in a garden with a 150-year-old mulberry tree but its once bountiful water has run dry.

"With its unique architecture that has survived to the present day, it has borne witness to both the sweetest and harshest times. It has been etched into the city’s consciousness and become an important and beautiful part of the cafŽ's culture and history," cafŽ manager Ercüment Hösükoğlu said.

The project to restore the Kır Kahvesi was drafted in August 2006 and completed in January 2007 by the metropolitan municipality, with a grant from the European Union. But the restoration ended up blocking the underground spring that fed the fountain. "Before, water came to the fountain from the spring underneath the historic Naip Hamamı," Hösükoğlu said. "When this became clogged up, the municipality connected the fountain to the GASKİ [Gaziantep Water Agency] mainline. But we could not come to an agreement with the municipality on the price and because of the high water bills, I had to have the fountain’s water cut."

Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Asım Güzelbey confirmed the artery from the natural spring that fed the Kumandan Fountain had become clogged during the renovation work and that the municipality water had been shut off at Hösükoğlu’s request. Güzelbey said the municipality was doing everything it could to ensure the fountain had running water again.