Remains of Byzantine basilica discovered at the bottom of Lake İznik

The remains of an ancient basilica have been discovered about 20 meters from shore in Bursa’s Lake İznik, according to local archaeologists.

“We have found church remains. It is in a basilica plan and has three naves,” said Mustafa Şahin, an archaeology professor at Bursa Uludağ 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 İznik. This is why we estimated that it was built in the fifth century A.D.,” said Şahin.

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 İznik Museum Directorate and the Culture and Tourism Ministry, asking that the archaeological site be protected, Şahin said.

There are many rough stones at the site, he said. “This shows that that the structure collapsed. İznik 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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