The sound of the call to prayer will not stop and the city will rise. Antique seller sticks to stay in Antioch despite earthquake

Mohamed Sinjan decided to stay and displayed his wares on the street.

An old black recorder plays Pink Floyd's "I Wish I Were Here" song "I Wish I Were Here" in a damaged neighborhood of the ancient Turkish city of Antioch that has few residents left after being ravaged by a devastating earthquake nearly a month ago.

Although almost all of the city's shops were closed and the buildings turned into rows of rubble, antiques dealer Muhammad Serkan Singan decided to stay and display his wares on the street and play music for passers-by just as he did before the quake.

Singan hung a picture of Salvador Dalí's famous painting "The Persistence of Memory" on the exterior wall of his damaged shop. Nearby, a mosaic of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, ancient magazines and several Turkish flags has been placed.

In the city where life has come to a standstill, Sincan, 50, counted several friends and neighbours among the more than 50,<> killed in the quake. Displaying the pieces as usual, he said, is a way to preserve some semblance of normalcy. "Even before the earthquake, these benches were outside and I had exhibits outside to show that it was an antique shop... This is the classic ordinary life for us... So we're back to normal... We are happy here."

On streets that were once bustling with tourists, most passers-by are now soldiers, policemen and emergency workers.

Singan said engineers had assessed the historic building housing his shop and concluded it was safe, with damage limited to plaster layers and some non-core walls. But thousands of artifacts he has collected over the years have also been damaged. The floor inside the building was covered with vases, cups, plates and other pottery that flew out of their places in the cabinets, stained glass, broken stone pieces, broken pieces of silverware, candlesticks and wooden furniture.

Singan visits the store to salvage what can be saved, such as a photo of his father, a funny portrait of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue and a faint copy of the Mona Lisa.

The quake destroyed many historic buildings in Antioch that have a long history with diversity, including churches dating back to ancient times and several ancient mosques. Singan said those who used to call for prayer in mosques also left, prompting him to take on the task himself.

"I don't hear the call to prayer. I've been praying for 20 years, and (not hearing the call to prayer) hurts me." At each prayer, Sinjan climbs the stairs of the building to a courtyard overlooking the street to make the call to prayer. "It's a matter of honour for the Turks. We say that science does not fall. The call to prayer does not stop."

Antioch was severely damaged or completely destroyed many times over more than 2000,<> years, whether due to earthquakes or conquests as it moved between the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Ottomans.

Singan said he was confident the city would rise again: "Antioch fell six times. This was the number 6.5 time. God willing, we will rebuild it."