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Jewish cemetery unearthed during construction work in Turkey

JTA

May 1, 2013 | 9:51 am

Gravestones and bones from an ancient Turkish Jewish cemetery were unearthed during the construction of an underground tunnel.

The remains in the Turkish city of Izmir were found more than 20 feet below ground, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Wednesday.

According to Hurriyet, the gravestones were left in the ground and the bones were delivered to representatives of Izmir's Jewish community.

The bones will be reburied in the Altındag Jewish Cemetery, which remains open to Jewish burials, Izmir Jewish community chairman Jak Kaya told Hurriyet.

The cemetery disturbed by the construction work served the Jewish community during the 19th century, Kaya told Hurriyet.

In a letter to Turkey's Culture Ministry, the Jewish community requested permission for the removal and transfer of the gravestones, according to Hurriyet.

Izmir was home to approximately 40,000 Jews in 1868, making it the third largest Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire after Salonika and Istanbul, according to Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People. There are now about 2,400 Jews in Izmir.

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