Turkey's exceptional museum hotel merges history and creativity

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Turkey's exceptional museum hotel merges history and creativity
Rare archaeological treasures are displayed at the Museum Hotel Antakya. [Xinhua]

Once a thriving metropolis in the Antioch era, Turkey's southern town of Antakya has many landmarks dating back to great ancient civilizations. A contemporary hotel that displays rare archaeological treasures is one of the latest landmarks here.

The Museum Hotel Antakya, a luxurious five-star hotel operating since 2019, features a hybrid architectural feat based on Roman mosaics and magnificent artifacts, serving as an ultra-modern hotel and a museum at the same time.

Clients often marvel at the splendidness of the history at the doorstep of their rooms, which were supported by 66 columns, giving the saying "a room with a view" a real meaning.

Along with the well-preserved mosaics, the museum comprises a range of ancient sites and antiques, including 5th-century Roman baths, a sumptuous villa, statues, and sculptural objects. A part of the ruins dates back to the third century B.C.

Through the glass in the hotel lobby, visitors can glimpse rubbled walls and an ancient streambed in addition to the mosaics of more than 1,000 square meters, which are considered one of the largest in the world.

According to the owner, construction costs of the hotel, which was built on an archaeological site found in 2010, have skyrocketed as it has been delayed for years.

"It was a very hard project because you are trying to make something different and it's a new way of protecting the old, revealing the old and combining the old with the new world," Sabiha Asfuroglu Abbasoglu told Xinhua in an interview in the lobby of the intriguing building.

Abbasoglu, CEO of the company owning the hotel, said that they have devoted themselves to the laborious excavation, protection, and construction work because "we believed in the project."

"We believed that (the project) was going to be a present for our region, country, and world. When you look at it, you see that it's alive … You really feel the energy, it's like a time tunnel," she said.

Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, bordering Syria, sits over the ancient Antioch, and is a major tourism and gastronomy destination.

"And you can all gaze to all of that during your short walk to the dining rooms, the bar, the gym, or the swimming pool in the hotel, feeling the energy of the ancient world lying beneath your feet," Abbasoglu said.

"It's like you are spending a night at the museum, " she said.

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