ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced last it will restore some 16,300 Ottoman Empire era buildings scattered throughout the Balkans.
Many of the buildings are in poor condition and in areas where the Muslim population has dwindled.
A ministry spokesman said budgets already have been allocated for some of the most important monuments marked for restoration in the unprecedented effort to save Turkey's architectural heritage in other countries. Among the largest grants are $265,000 for the restoration of the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Mosque (1462) in Kyusgtendil, Bulgaria, and $257,000 for the Maktul Ibrahim Pasa Mosque (1616) in Razgrad, Bulgaria.
Some 3,999 structues to be restored are in Bulgaria and 622 in Kosovo, many of them in the town of Prizren occupied by the Ottoman Turks in 1455. The main mosque and Turkish baths in Prizren top the list of projects there. Also to be restored is the childhood home of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in Thessalonica, Greece.