The Turkish mosque and governor’s house are located in the northern part of the Old City, in what is today the Beer Sheva municipal park. They were built at the beginning of the 20th century; they stand almost completely intact and are currently being used to house the Museum of the Negev. In 1998 they were identified as being in imminent danger of collapse and as a result of this they were closed. The structures were reopened to visitors in January 2004 after steps to renovate them were taken.
The walls of the buildings are made of sandy chalk. They underwent a process of weathering in which moisture would be drawn up via the core of the walls and drain to the surface by way of the soft stone. In January-August 2005 conservation measures were implemented at the site by the Conservation Department of the Antiquities Authority in order to treat the stone and the plaster on the facades of the buildings.
The conservation intervention included:
Modern materials: removal of all the modern materials from the walls of the buildings.
Salt: sepiolite (a kind of clay) was used to absorb the salt from stone.
Cleaning: the badly weathered surface of the stones was cleaned.
Stone complement: stones were complemented by means of intarsia or stone replacement in instances where the weathering exceeded a depth of 10 cm.
Cornices and window sills: the original window sills were replaced with dressed sills according to the architect’s specifications. The criterion for repairing and replacing them was based on the depth of the weathering in the original sills.
Pointing: the joints were filled with a lime based bonding material.
Plaster: original plaster was replaced with new plaster. It was implemented using the original building technology.