One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life

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Omar Beato
Photographer/Videographer based in Lebanon

View of destroyed buildings in the bazaar. The city -founded in the fourth century BC- is a testimony to its long past with ancient structures compromising the landscape. Over 30,000 buildings in Antakya were destroyed or severely damaged beyond restoration.

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
Brightly colored skaters wove a narrative by sequencing miniature rectangular frames that approximated motion by blink, blink, blinking on a screen. This, of course, illuminated both the unimaginable and the painstakingly spatial. The event, suitable for the currant bloodstream, was on par with now. Always and only, now. Operatives frequented makeshift macros, transcripting vast vigilantes with whom they sought consult. Metropolis unbound.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
An excavator breaking rubble into pieces during nighttime before loading them onto a truck. Despite continuous works throughout the city, residents feel frustrated the demolition process is still ongoing. A civil engineer -who has requested anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media- says about 40,000 buildings are scheduled to be demolished in Hatay province alone. ''About 90 per cent of the scheduled buildings to be demolished have been demolished. Some people challenge our orders in court, so we are waiting for the resolutions before we proceed'', he explains.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
Saifi -an Afghan refugee who lost nine of his cousins to the earthquake- works as a security guard at night protecting demolition equipment from being stolen. He sits beside a campfire with a stray dog, both spend every night together seeking warmth and company. ''I feel desolated when I sit here and look around me. It is good to have a dog by my side, I feel less lonely'', he says.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -   April 2023
April 2023
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -   January 2024
January 2024
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
April 2023
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
January 2024
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
Seline –the owner of Neccar Hotel– looks through the picture window on what used to be the restaurant floor. She received a demolition order at the beginning of 2024. Now, with the help of her husband, she tries to save any valuable objects before demolition teams show up on the scene.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
Neccar Hotel from the outside.
      
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life

Hassan reopened his hummus restaurant at the bazaar seven months ago. He follows the longstanding steps of his father and grandfather, who started the business in 1963. He has never worked elsewhere as he began making hummus –a culinary symbol of Antakya– at the age of seven. Despite reopening the business, he is still afraid about his business being demolished. ‘We used to live in Paradise before the earthquake. I used to have over 20 friends, but now I only have three friends’’

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
Friends tasting wine at Rosinante –the first venue to reopen in the city centre. Dogus, the 27-year-old owner, says ‘’This is not a luxury, this is a need. People need to start feeling they are living life again’’.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life

Aerial view of temporary containers laid out by government agencies to allow business owners to restart their activities.

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
April 2023

Family mourning the death of a relative in a improvised mass graveyard in the outskirts of Antakya. Many casualties were unrecognizable after being retrieved from the rubble. 
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
January 2024

A year later people are still mourning their dead relatives. Most people have lost family members, their homes, and in many cases, both. The psychological trauma still lingers in people’s minds. To this day, many bodies remain unidentified. 

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  Gulderen construction site –located up in the mountains where the soil is...
Gulderen construction site –located up in the mountains where the soil is sturdier– has neared completion. Some of the upcoming 12,000 new residents (according to civil eng) will move in in the next few weeks and months.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  Despite buildings being almost complete, normal life is still a few months away. Roads, pipes,...

Despite buildings being almost complete, normal life is still a few months away. Roads, pipes, and people still need to be brought in. 

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  To make space for Gulderen, the government is expropriating land from farmers who have laboured...

To make space for Gulderen, the government is expropriating land from farmers who have laboured this land for decades and generations. ‘’Insert quote from farmer’’.

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
Gulderen construction site –located up in the mountains where the soil is sturdier– has neared completion. Some of the upcoming 12,000 new residents (according to civil eng) will move in in the next few weeks and months.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life

Despite buildings being almost complete, normal life is still a few months away. Roads, pipes, and people still need to be brought in. 

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life

To make space for Gulderen, the government is expropriating land from farmers who have laboured this land for decades and generations. ‘’Insert quote from farmer’’.

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  Many people were placed in temporary tent camps after the earthquake.
Many people were placed in temporary tent camps after the earthquake.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life - Woman dancing with her relative in a tent camp in April 2023.
Woman dancing with her relative in a tent camp in April 2023.
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  According to data provided by Support to Life NGO in December of 2023, 296,892 persons live in...
According to data provided by Support to Life NGO in December of 2023, 296,892 persons live in temporary settlements across Hatay province. A civil engineer –speaking with the condition of anonymity– comments that a lot of people in Hatay built buildings without government authorisation before the earthquake. These people aren’t eligible for government finance to purchase newly constructed houses. Hence, housing issues are likely to persist in the long term. 
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  Sevcan daughter observes her mother cooking from inside their new container. Despite containers...

Sevcan daughter observes her mother cooking from inside their new container. Despite containers being relatively better equipped than tent, life inside the camps remains challenging. ‘’We don’t always have water or hot water. It’s been a month [with water problems] and we still haven’t been able to have a proper bath. We would like to move into a house, the containers don’t feel like home’’.

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  Many Syrians still live in tent camps waiting to be moved to –more organized and...

Many Syrians still live in tent camps waiting to be moved to –more organized and better-equipped– containers. The process to acquire a container for Syrians is lengthy and confusing at best, and unreachable at worst. Due to winter rains ‘’we have the tent flooded at night, we are getting wet while we sleep. People are getting sick’’, complains Rima, a 30-year-old refugee from Idlib who fled to Turkiye in 2011 after her house was bombed by the Syrian regime.

One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life -  A Syrian refugee sitting next to the rubble of a demolished building, where they have set-up an...
A Syrian refugee sitting next to the rubble of a demolished building, where they have set-up an informal settlement. Aliye, a 17-year-old Syrian refugee living in the camp says ‘’We would like to get a container, I wish we had one but we have to wait for now’’.
Public Story
One year on, the ancient city of Antakya struggles to show its first signs of life
Copyright Omar Beato 2024
Date of Work Apr 2023 - Ongoing
Updated Feb 2024
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