Underwater archaeology starts on İznik basilica
BURSA – Anadolu Agency
The Roman-era basilica, which lies 1.5-2 meters deep in Lake İznik, was discovered while photographing the city from the air. Projects will be carried out to make the basilica a tourist attraction. DHA PhotosUnderwater archaeological work has started on the remains of a 1,600-year-old basilica that was discovered at the beginning of 2014 under Lake İznik in the northwestern province of Bursa.
Conducted by the Uludağ University Archaeology Department in collaboration with the Culture and Tourism Ministry and Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, the work aims to obtain detailed information about the basilica.
The Roman-era basilica, which lies in 1.5 to 2 meters of water, was discovered while photographing the city from the air to make an inventory of historical and cultural artifacts. Archaeologists, historians and art historians believe that the structure collapsed during an earthquake that occurred in the region in 740.
In the first stage of the operations at the site, the area of the basilica was surrounded with sheet metal on the coast before a 25-person team from the university conducted work to open the area to tourism.
“Projects will be made for this place; its environment will be examined,” Bursa Mayor Recep Altepe said. “The team of 25 persons is trying to find out if there are any other structures around the basilica. Our goal is to create a nice artifact here to draw the world’s attention. We already have a very precious artifact; it dates back 1,600 years and is already known by the world. We want to make a project for this place so that everyone wants to see it. We want people to visit the basilica like an island in the lake. Whatever the cost is, we want to realize this project. We are ready to make sacrifices so that İznik becomes a world heritage [site] and the center of attraction.”
The mayor said details of the basilica and its surroundings would be revealed in the near future and that they would accordingly undertake any necessary project.
“In this way, this project will make a great contribution to İznik in becoming a center of tourism. We are very excited about it and want to finish and open it as soon as possible,” Altepe said.
The discovery of the basilica was declared one of top 10 discoveries of 2014 by the Archaeological Institute of America.