SEVERAL historic building around the Apollo Temple that have been left in dilapidation are now in danger of falling down, the village muhtar has claimed.

Bahri Aşık, the 35-year head of Hisar district, which incorporates the Temple and its surrounding area, said the buildings – a number of former Greek properties which were left after the population exchange of 1923 – were now in such a state of disrepair they could be demolished for public safety.

Aşık said the Temple and its environs are supposedly preserved as it is a special conservation area.

But, he said, it was this very ‘special status’ that very little was being done to preserve the buildings.

Aşık said that he was born in Hisar and grew up here, saying, “When our descendants arrived from Thessaloniki in 1924, these houses belonged to the Greeks. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk gave these houses to our grandfathers when the Greeks went from here.

“In 1956, there was a big earthquake,” said Aşık, who stated that the houses were two storeyed, the lower part being used as a barn and the upper part as a house in past years.

He added: “A delegation from Ankara came and examined them and the houses were not demolished, but there were those that were damaged. Around 280 villagers lived here. After the houses were finished in the 4th year, our grandfather, who lived here, passed on the houses for our father. ”

However, the Monuments Board, which oversees the special conservation area, did not allow any new construction, so the houses were being “destroyed by abandonment.”

“Is the Hisar neighborhood not like Sirince or İzmir’s Selçuk? There is the historic Apollo Temple on the side. The tourists from Apollo Temple laugh to themselves at our predicament.”

Aşık said: “Restoration of these houses should not be difficult. You can not make a home, make a road, you can not have infrastructure because it is a special area. The Hisar neighborhood attracts the pain of being a special conservation area.”

Aşık, also informed about the historical mosque in the neighborhood. “This mosque was used as a church in the time of the Greeks. The Greeks came here to worship.

“After the Greeks left here, our grandfathers migrated here from Thessaloniki, where they were used as mosques until today. We are our descendants, our parents, and we are making our prayers in this mosque. It is one of the important structures that survive today. ”

Didim Mayor, Deniz Atabay, explained: “At the tourism meeting organized by the Governor of Aydın, Yavuz Selim Köşger, the Temple of Apollo changed the landscape and environment. We want to do it. But the Monuments Board said it would not happen.

“The conservation plans continue to work, but this is a long way off. 1/5000 plans are made, then 1/1000 plans are made. After that, the buildings outside the plan will be removed and the buildings suitable for this will be restored.”