Munzur Springs Face Threat of Construction
Hıdır Sönmez, 12 February 2018
Munzur Springs, or Munzur Baba as the locals say, is the water resource which brings life to Munzur River in Tunceli/Ovacık. Ice cold water coming out from forty springs is where the Munzur River starts from. Munzur Springs, visited by thousands of people every year, is kind of a pilgrimage for the Alevis. Now, this sacred place faces threat of construction. Governor’s Office in Tunceli has been working on a project “Munzur Springs Landscape Project” and within the frame of this project, it is planned to construct an amphitheatre, a guesthouse, museum, playground, barbecue points and a picnic area. Local people, Bar of Tunceli, Ovacık Municipality and the leaders of Alevi religion strongly object to the project and want its cancellation. They think it would damage the natural and historical fabric of Munzur Springs and cause irreversible destruction.
“Munzur Springs is certified as a protected area, nothing can be built on it.”
Barış Yıldırım, president of the Bar of Tunceli explains why they are against the project:
“Munzur Springs is the primary resource of Munzur National Park. It was certified as a grade one natural site area by Erzurum’s Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board in 2001. Also, it is a sacred place for Alevi religion and the most important natural and cultural area in the region.
Any kind of construction is strictly prohibited on grade one natural site areas, except for scientific researches. They are also closed to any kind of tourism. We do not know how this project was prepared and we are astounded by it. We already identified some damages in the area and made an allegation.”