Researchers set to discover Istanbul’s lost island
ISTANBUL– Anadolu Agency
CİHAN photoA team of Turkish archeologists are set to unearth a lost underwater island off the coast of Istanbul.
Vordonisi was an island in the Byzantine-era, but it now lies under Turkey’s Marmara Sea.
According to the municipality in Istanbul’s Maltepe district, researchers and divers from three Turkish universities are set to re-discover the island, which located 700 meters off from the Maltepe shore on Istanbul’s Asian side.
“Vordonisi Island is to be brought to light after 1,000 years by a research team from Istanbul University, Bursa Uludağ University and Düzce University with the support of the Maltepe municipality,” Maltepe Mayor Ali Kılıç said in a statement.
The small island of Vordonisi is a tenth of the size of the present-day Princes Islands of Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgaz, Kınalı, Sedef, Tavşan, Kaşık, Sivri and Yassı.
The island reportedly hosted a Byzantine monastery built by Patriarch Photios I who was exiled there between 858-886.
According to Turkish media, the island was discovered on old Byzantine maps and photographed by an exploration team in 2015.
According to Kılıç, the monastery was built 1,200 years ago but was buried beneath the waves in a massive earthquake in 1010.
“We aim to see the historic sunken island included on the UNESCO World Heritage List,” Kılıç said.
“The island will be discovered in all its aspects with the help of this research and then we will present a study to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the Culture Ministry and UNESCO.”
“The next step will be opening the island to tourism,” the mayor added.
Turkey has also recently witnessed the discovery of the Arginusae islands, now called the Garip Islands, in the Aegean Sea.
According to National Geographic, the peninsula was once an island and an ancient site of an epic sea battle between the Athenians and the Spartans nearly 2,400 years ago.