A giant boulder fabled to be the remains of dragons which once plagued southeastern Turkey is now set to attract a friendlier invasion, but this time of tourists.
The legendary and massive 250-square-meter (2,691-foot) Dragonstone can be found some two kilometers (1.24 miles) from the Harput area of Elazig in the southeast, said Kadir Atici of the Elazig Municipality’s Conservation Bureau.
Also an art historian, Atici told Anadolu Agency that the municipality put the dragon-like stone under its protection.
“We’re planning to revive the legend of the 800-year-old Dragonstone and present it to visitors to Harput,” he added.
The Dragonstone will be open for tourism as of next August after some work in the area.
According to Atici, the Dragonstone legend, told since the 12th or 13th century by locals, has also been recounted in several books.
According to the oral legend, when locals heard a dragon and her younglings were headed to Harput to feast on people, in desperation they sought out a wise man for help.
The sage prayed for the dragons to leave, and his intercession led the dragon and her younglings to be turned into stone, near Elazig, where they can still be found today.
Dragon tales aside, Harput has been home to several ancient civilizations through the ages, including the Urartus, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and the Ottoman Empire.
He said Harput has a very rich written and oral heritage dating back centuries. The Dragonstone in the historic area and its legend reflect this, he added.
“The Dragonstone had been in this place for years as it was a natural stone, but it was damaged due to the accumulation of the soil and wasn’t protected,” he added.
“The Elazig Municipality made arrangements for the benefit of our forgotten oral culture. We removed the soil covering the stone and made the Dragonstone visible,” he said.