Ancient city to be promoted with festival

Ancient city to be promoted with festival

TOKAT – Anadolu Agency
Ancient city to be promoted with festival

AA photo

A festival is set to be organized to promote the ancient city of Sebastapolis and to bring more tourists to the district. 

Excavations work started in 1995 in the ancient city, located in the Central Anatolian province of Tokat’s Sulusaray district.

After a 22-year hiatus, the works began again three years ago. 

Since then, the works have been jointly carried out by Gaziosmanpaşa University and the Tokat Museum Directorate. 

Among the many artifacts that have been unearthed so far in the ancient city, the remains of church and bath, and even human skeletons, have been discovered. Excavations are ongoing in Sebastapolis two months out of a year. 

The ancient city was visited by Prince of Wales Charles Philip Arthur George in the 1990s and Tokat Governor Cevdet Can invited him again to the city via letter last year. Now the city is preparing for a festival they hope will draw in more tourists. 

Sulusaray Mayor Halil Demirkol said they would focus on promotion to make Sebastapolis a brand and bring it into the fold of Turkish tourism. 

He said the bath and the church were gradually being unearthed, adding, “We have been carrying out some work to bring more tourists to our district and to promote the ancient city. The Sebastapolis Festival, which is to be organized this year, is one of these works. It will start on the second day of the Ramadan holiday and continue every year.” 

Demirkol said the festival would continue for three days. 

“On the first day of the festival, people will celebrate their holiday in an area next to the ancient city and then visit the ancient city,” he said, adding that the festival will also host film screenings and games. He is endevaoring to promote the festival widely as well.

“We will promote the ancient city on television programs. We believe that the festival will be very useful for tourism in the region. Local people are very excited about this festival, too.” 

Ancient city of Sebastapolis 

Located 69 kilometers away from the city center of Tokat, the ancient city of Sebastapolis is believed to date back to the 1st century B.C.

The ancient city was included in the Cappadocia region after being separated from the Pontus Galatius and Polemoniacus states at the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan between 98 and 117 A.D. 

It was known as one of the five largest cities in the Black Sea 2,000 years ago because its location on major routes and its thermal heat sources, which are still being used today. 

As an indicator of its wealth at the time of the Roman Empire, Sebastapolis had the authority to print money. It is reported that the city lost its importance and was forgotten over time, largely due to wars, destruction, disasters and newly-built roads.

The ancient city was surrounded by a city wall made of small, neatly cut stones put together without using mortar. A circular shape temple was discovered at the northeast side of the city, with a marble floor. The baths are situated in the eastern part of Sebastopolis, the water for which was taken from a thermal spring located about three kilometers to the southwest.