Marble is a stone extracted from ancient times. The history of marble quarries goes back to the 3th century BC in Greece, the 7th century in Turkey (Anatolia), and the 1st century in Italy. We can see historical monuments, sculptures, temples, mosques made from marble.
Marble is a stone that occurred as a result of the metamorphic transformation of carbonate stones. The obtained marble rock consists of interlocking carbonate crystals.
History of Marble
The first reference for marble extraction can be dated back to 3rd century BC in islands of Paros and Naxos in the Aegean Sea. And marble extraction in those islands became popular and got a dominant position in the ancient world.
When we look at Anatolia -the cradle of civilisation- we see that marble was utilised for construction of homes, tombs, temples, and sculptures during the Roman and Byzantium era. And these quarries have been used during Seljuk and Ottoman periods.
From the remnants, it can be said that the history of marble in Anatolia goes back to the Primeval Age. During the period between 7th century BC and AC that can be called the golden age of marble, a great variety of marbles were processed and used in Anatolia which was unique at that period.
As one of the seven wonders of the world, the Temple of Artemis and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus are major structures that have left the mark in history. Especially the marbles being processed in quarries whose remnants still exist today which were crafted by artisans who got experience from marble schools in Ephesus, Pergamon, and Aphrodisias have brought great aesthetics to the temples, sculptures, and embossing.
We can see great examples of marble artworks in embossing and sculptures extracted from archaeological works from Hittite era, theatres, arenas, and other works from Ancient Greek and Roman period, palaces, Turkish bathes, Caravansaray buildings, mosques, and madrassah facilities from Seljuk period, and mosques, minarets, and water fountains from Ottoman period.
The marble extraction in Italy dates to 155 BC. The first marble mining and processing works go back to Romanisation of the Apuan area. Different cathedrals were constructed around 1000 AC with marble. Over two millennia, marble has undergone numerous changes from mining to transport and process techniques. Until 16th century marble processing techniques remain the same with some primitive methods. By the beginning of 20th century, the processing techniques have changed. Electrical hoists enabled to handle large blocks safely. Nowadays, technology in quarries has been improved a lot. Different tools like diamond gang saws have replaced the labour work and made things easier.
Nowadays, in quarries high technology equipment and tools are used. This enables more marble production with less labour work. In 2009, a total 107 million tonnes of marble were produced in the whole world. When it comes to export, Turkey is the leader in marble export with a 42% share in the global market.
If you are looking for the best marble types produced in Turkey, you are welcome to our Istanbul showroom. Please give us a call or send an email for any requests.