Byzantine church’s base ground undergoing restoration
A 1,550-year-old former Byzantine church’s base ground, which has been unearthed in the ancient city of Stratonikeia in the southwestern province of Muğla, is being renovated together with the colored marble pieces found during the works.
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2015, the ancient city of Stratonikeia was home to many civilizations.
Excavation work in Stratonikeia, one of the largest marble cities of the world, has been ongoing.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Bilal Söğüt, the head of the Stratonikeia excavations, said the ancient city, also known as the city of gladiators, maintained its importance in the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Menteshe, Ottoman, and Turkish periods.
Söğüt said the excavation team unearthed the church, which was built after an earthquake in 365 A.D. He added that the church remained still until the first quarter of the seventh century. The area was later used as a cemetery.
He said that they carried out most of the excavations in the area called the Western Street of the city. “Here, a church was built on the colonnaded street. Later, when the church was destroyed, the area was turned into a cemetery in the Byzantine period in the seventh century A.D.”
He stressed that the team is working on the field where both the tombs and the church were located. “Currently, we are restoring the floor coverings of the church.”
Söğüt said that the stones found in the excavations are handed over to “stone hospital,” where they are being restored.
“Here, we exhibit both the floor of the church and several Byzantine tombs which were built by the materials from the church’s floor,” he added.
He also noted that at least four different marble colors were used for the church’s floor, adding that they have found 62 tombs in the area so far.