Turkey: The Death Toll in the Earthquake Reached 29,605, Historical Artifacts Destroyed

As of today, the number of people who lost their lives due to the earthquakes that took place in Turkey on February 6, 2023 has reached 29,605. It was determined that many historical artifacts were destroyed.

Turkey experienced one of the greatest tragedies of the last century with the earthquake that occurred at 4:17 am on February 6, 2023. While the shock of the first earthquake was not over yet, many buildings were destroyed in the cities in the southeast of Anatolia with the second severe earthquake at 1.27 pm.

The magnitude of the earthquakes was announced by the Kandilli Observatory from Boğaziçi University as 7.7 and 7.6 (ML). In addition, several aftershocks with magnitudes greater than 4.0 occurred in the region.

Kahramanmaraş 174,05,0
Aftershocks of 4.0 or greater in the region between February 10, 2023 and February 12, 2023.1

According to the latest information released on February 12, 2023, the number of people who lost their lives due to the earthquake in Turkey reached 29,605.

The extent of the damage is revealed!

The extent of the damage is quickly revealed by the examination of areas that have not yet been reached. As of February 12, 2023, the number of buildings found to be destroyed or severely damaged exceeded 24 thousand. It is thought that the number of heavily damaged buildings is much higher.

Of course, it cannot be compared to the pain of the loss of thousands of people, but the presence of cultural heritage assets among the damaged structures constitutes another dimension of the tragedy.

Historical buildings that have been partially or completely destroyed so far include the Cathedral of the Annunciation (İskenderun), Yeni Mosque (Malatya), Antakya Greek Orthodox Church (Hatay), Parliament Building (Hatay) and some parts of the walls of Gaziantep Castle.

The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums in Turkey announced that the Hatay Archaeological Museum was damaged, and that no serious damage was detected in other museums in the region.2

UNESCO and ICOMOS will Create An Inventory

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments and Sites) announced that a damage inventory will be created for cultural heritage assets damaged by the earthquake. Director-General Audrey Azoulay said UNESCO will provide assistance to both Turkey and Syria.3

  1. Bölgesel Deprem-Tsunami İzleme ve Değerlendirme Merkezi, KRDAE, Boğaziçi Üniversitesi[]
  2. İhlas Haber Ajansı, iha.com.tr, 9 Şubat 2023[]
  3. Earthquake in Syria and Türkiye: UNESCO offers support“, World Heritage Convention, February 7, 2023[]