Iznik Ruins, Bursa, Turkey 

Archaeologists were surprised to discover that “weird ruins” in a Turkish lake are actually a nearly 1,600-year-old basilica. Moreover, the city associated with the submerged church has been a key site for religious history. The martyr linked to this church allegedly had unique powers and could bring water forth from a stone. Now there are elaborate plans to turn the basilica into an underwater museum.

Ancient Nicaea, modern day Iznik, in Turkey has central importance to the history of Christianity. In 325 AD it was the site of the first ecumenical council – the one responsible for clarifying the orthodox Christian position on the divinity of Christ and his relation to God and humanity. It is also the location of the last ecumenical council, which took place in 787 AD and settled the issue of iconoclasm (whether icons were a form of idolatry.) It has been the location of many churches and visited by many saints. As a result, it is fitting that a relatively recent archaeological find near Iznik is the discovery of a submerged basilica which may be associated with the martyred saint Neophytus of Nicaea.

Epic Turkey Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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