Ancient pilgrimage center unearthed in Turkey's north

Ancient pilgrimage center unearthed in Turkey's north

KARABÜK – Anadolu Agency
Ancient pilgrimage center unearthed in Turkeys north Works have been resumed, after two years, in the ancient city of Hadrianapolis in the northern province of Karabük’s Eskipazar district.

The ancient city is believed to have been established in the first century B.C. and was used as a settlement until the eighth century. 

Vedat Keleş, the head of the excavations and professor at Ondokuz Mayıs University’s Underwater Archaeology Department, said the previous works focused on underground and protection and that works like an excavation house, mosaic restoration and the covering of a church in the area had been completed. 

He said further works would be carried out under the auspices of the Kastamonu Museum as well as Ersin Çelikbaş, an academic at the Karabük University Archaeology Department. “There are lots of structures that need to be discovered in Hadrianapolis,” he said. 

Keleş said the city used to be a center of pilgrimage in ancient times. “Churches and monasteries were built here. This is also the birthplace of Stiylos Alpius, a significant figure in ancient times. The structures are very important here because it is a pilgrimage center. They will be excavated within the scope of a certain plan,” he added.  

He said maintaining the protection was more important than excavations, which they had been working on for five years. He said he believed the area would make a great contribution to cultural tourism. 
Çelikbaş said he would continue works the same way Keleş did. 

“New excavations will be carried out starting this year. We plan to unearth new fields. After putting up information signboards, this place will be open to visitors,” he added.  

Ancient city of Hadrianapolis

Located three kilometers to the east of Eskipazar, Hadrianapolis was settled in the late Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine periods. Archaeological surface surveys have uncovered 14 public buildings and other structures in the ancient city. 

Among these public buildings are two baths, two churches, a defense structure, rock tombs, a theater, an arched and domed structure, a monumental cultic niche, walls, a villa, other monumental buildings and some religious buildings.  

The church floors are decorated with mosaics and have images of the rivers of Geon, Phison, Tigris and Euphrates imprinted on them, which are mentioned in the Bible. Various animals are also depicted in the mosaics of the ancient city, which have been likened to the ancient city of Zeugma. 

Excavation works started in 2003 in Hadrianapolis and have been continuing with intervals.