11.11.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

Turkey: Automated system for digitization of registered sites and assets in Kars

©United Nations Joint Programme, Turkey - Ani Archaeological site

An automated system for the digitization of the registered site areas and immovable culture and natural assets database within the Turkish province of Kars has reached its final stage of installation. The system will allow for the creation, collection and management of digital data about different cultural sites and assets such as archaeological sites, ruins, religious buildings, and examples of civil architecture, as well as natural assets within the province of Kars.

During previous stages, documents concerning identification and registration of these assets were already digitized and adapted to fit into the system. The necessary software and hardware tools were then developed and applied in order to make the system operational and training for the system’s users was provided.

The activity was carried out under the UN Joint Programme “Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia” in cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The main scope of this programme is to develop and enhance cultural tourism in the province of Kars located at the North Eastern part of Turkey. By doing so, the programme aims at addressing regional development disparities in the country.

As this particular region is home to significant cultural and natural heritage, developing sustainable cultural tourism is significant because it can help establish valuable models for managing tangible and intangible assets that can be then replicated elsewhere in the country. The progressive set up of the automated system is a decisive step, providing an example for strategic direction, prioritization and safeguarding of tangible cultural heritage.

The initiative is an important contribution to ensure the proper and effective safeguarding of tangible cultural heritage in the target area, which is a necessary condition for the development of a sustainable cultural tourism. In addition, the development of the digital information-management system will also constitute a best practice for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism at the national level, to be possibly replicated in different areas, particularly in Eastern Turkey.

The activity was held in two phases. First, the software for the automated system was developed. This stage included the creation of digital data on conservation, monitoring and supervision of registered sites and immovable cultural and natural assets in the province of Kars. 2643 files containing 852 Regional Board decisions, 920 identification cards, 295 rehabilitation projects, 82 plans and maps, 44 principle decisions and other 450 files were digitalized. In addition, the feasibility analysis on terrestrial measurements of 20 sites and registered buildings in Province of Kars was also completed. In order to complete this fist stage, a training was held in Kars with the participation of personnel from the Erzurum Region Preservation Council, the Museum of Kars, the Museum of Iğdır and the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. An additional field training was provided involving the terrestrial measurement within the area of the Kars Fortress.

At the second phase of the activity the necessary hardware was purchased. This stage also included a training of system users, completion of terrestrial measurements of 13 sites defined by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and finally activation of the system. The system is currently transferred to the new premises of the Kars Preservation Council from the Museum of Kars. As the Kars Preservation Council has newly been established, the automated system will be installed and additional training will be given in order to be at the disposal of the members from the beginning of their assignments. 

This activity has been realised within the scope of the UN Joint Programme “Alliances for Culture Tourism in Eastern Anatolia”, generously financed by the Government of Spain and aimed at safeguarding cultural heritage and promoting cultural tourism in the province of Kars.

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