Iznik is the current Turkish name for the ancient city of Nicaea, where the First Ecumenical Synod took place. Interestingly, Senatus Palace built by Constantine the Great, which hosted the First Ecumenical Synod, is also submerged under Lake Iznik. The Seventh Ecumenical Synod took place in the Church of Hagia Sophia in Nicaea, which bears a resemblance to this newly-discovered submerged church. The latest research suggests that this church may have been from the fourth century and was dedicated to Saint Peter.
January 28, 2014
The remains of an ancient basilica have been discovered about 20 meters from shore in Bursa’s Lake Iznik, according to local archaeologists.
“We have found church remains. It is in a basilica plan and has three naves,” said Mustafa Sahin, an archaeology professor at Bursa Uludag University.
The foundations of the church are currently lying in water that is about 1.5 to two meters deep.
“This church’s remains are similar to the Hagia Sophia in Iznik. This is why we estimated that it was built in the fifth century A.D.,” said Sahin.
He said the structure was discovered while photographing the city from the air to make an inventory of historical and cultural artifacts.
After the discovery, the university informed the Iznik Museum Directorate and the Culture and Tourism Ministry, asking that the archaeological site be protected, Sahin said.
There are many rough stones at the site, he said. “This shows that that the structure collapsed. Iznik has gone through many earthquakes that destroyed such structures. The best known is the one that occurred in 740 A.D. Our first observations show that the structure collapsed in this earthquake and that the coastal side was submerged. The church was subsequently not rebuilt.”
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