Photo essay: Antakya residents rebuilding a year after Turkey earthquake

The once bustling bazaars in the city have become a symbol of collective strength

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One year on from the 7.8-magnitude earthquakes that devastated the southern parts of Turkey and northern Syria, residents of Antakya, in the Hatay province of Turkey, have had to endure a profound transformation in their physical landscape and daily living conditions, as well as their shared outlook on the future.

However, amid the sombre aftermath of the tragedy, a vibrant spirit of unity has emerged, painting a resilient portrait of daily life in the city.

Although scarred after the events of February 6 last year, the once bustling bazaars have become a symbol of collective strength and a meeting place for young and old again, a way to recapture the life and energy of the city before the devastating event.

Initially closed after the earthquake, store owners have returned and rebuilt. Some have created makeshift temporary stalls, others have built with a view to recapturing what existed before. Salep vendors are swarmed by clients eager for the sweet traditional drink made from orchid flowers and milk.

Bakers from the many "pastane" shops shout out their offers while other visitors prefer to buy freshly toasted sandwiches. Local chefs, using ingredients sourced from the region's fertile lands, create age-old dishes that symbolise the heritage of the surrounding areas.

As night descends, the city lights, dimmed by the earthquake's aftermath, flicker back to life. Neon signs and lantern-lit stalls are open for business again, echoing the resilient spirit evident throughout Antakya. The sounds of reconstruction, always in the background, do not overpower the colourful mosaic of the people's determination and hope for their future.

Updated: February 09, 2024, 6:01 PM