Ancient harbor comes to surface
Excavations have been initiated to unearth the Soli Pompeiopolis Ancient Harbor, which is one of the most important and largest ports in the Eastern Mediterranean, dating back 1,800 years, and almost completely under the sand. During the excavations carried out for the first time, the breakwaters of the harbor and its connection with the colonnaded street will be unearthed this year.
Dating back to the second century A.D., Soli Pompeiopolis is located in the Mezitli district of the southern province of Mersin and is one of the historical places with its colonnaded street, mound, ancient harbor, aqueducts, bath and acropolis. This year’s excavations, which started on Aug. 4 under the direction of Professor Remzi Yağcı, Head of the Department of Museology at Dokuz Eylül University, will continue for two months. During the excavations, the breakwaters of the harbor will be unearthed, while the connection with the colonnaded street will be revealed in the final stage.
“This is the harbor of the city founded by the great Pompeius. The port is an indicator of a very important economic activity. Soli Pompeiopolis is a big city anyway. It is one of the active harbors in the Roman Empire, although its visible part is small. We included this place in our program after many years and started working on it,” Yağcı said.
Noting that they started the work with 10 workers, Yağcı said, ”We plan to increase the number of workers to 30. We are now on the western breakwater. This place is 160 meters long. The total length of the harbor is 320 meters. The distance between the two breakwaters is 180 meters and there are hydraulic concretes used in big harbors. A survey on all Roman harbors showed that Pompeiopolis and a harbor in Italy had similar proportions. It has a solid structure. It is a two-story building. The finished version is seen on a coin minted on the 249th anniversary of the founding of the city. There are statues at the sides of their breakwaters. That’s why this is a magnificent harbor. Of course, revealing this place is not a medium-term, but a long-term project.”
Stating that the harbor was completely finished in the second century, Yağcı added, “This harbor was fully activated 1,800 years ago. The most important thing is to connect it with the colonnaded street.”