Restoration of the Ottoman Bath on Kastellorizo
The restoration project concerns of the 19th century Ottoman hammam of Kastellorizo. The hammam is a bath installation of the Muslim quarter in the unique settlement of the most remote Greek island in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Before restoration, it was abandoned and downgraded, despite its location adjacent to the most powerful landmark of the island, the “Red Castle”, at the highest point of the Kavos promontory. With the initiative of “Friends of Kastellorizo”, the vision of preserving and enhancing the hammam in order for it to be fully and functionally restored, was realised. The hammam is a small building of general external dimensions 4.15 × 3.95 m covered with a dome. It comprises only a hot room, with a separate narrow space attached for the water tank with the furnace underneath. Due to a long period of neglect, the hammam had lost many of its basic elements. These were both structural and functional, such as the hypocaust, the furnace, the staircase, the doors, the basins, tabs etc. Restoring the monument was a very challenging and multifaceted task. Apart from restoring the functional network in traditional terms, we had to respect all historical layering such as the Italian graffiti and inscriptions from WWII. Conservation methods and non-destructive methods for construction analysis and network inspection had to be employed. Thus, the approach was interdisciplinary, with many specialists working together with the aim of re-integrating the monument into the local community, by completely recovering its original state and reinstating its function as a bath.
KeywordsOttoman bath Restoration Conservation Hypocaust Kastellorizo
The scientific team would like to thank ‘Friends of Kastellorizo’, and its donors for this project who generously funded this restoration project and, particularly, Nick Mitaros who organised this initiative and had faith in us to deliver the project. Special thanks should be attributed to Nicholas Pappas for providing precious information regarding the historical context during the Ottoman and Italian occupation of the island. Maria Dalkafouki was of great assistance in providing consultancy about specialised mortars. Lastly, we are grateful to the local craftsmen who worked carefully and patiently while fulfilling all our requirements.
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