District on ancient city searching for new place
A large part of the ancient city of Sebastapolis, which has a history of 2,000 years, is located under the Sulusaray district, therefore, only a part of the ancient city has been unearthed until today.
While the residents of Sulusaray, which has a population of 3,500, live a life intertwined with history, the expropriation of the houses in the ancient city continues. Since most of the district is an archaeological site, it is not possible to make renovations to the houses.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Sulusaray Mayor Necmettin Coruk said that there were Roman and Byzantine ruins in the ancient city of Sebastapolis and that the city was an important settlement during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.
Coruk reminded that Charles, Prince of Wales, visited the ancient city twice to draw attention to the importance of the ancient city of Sebastapolis, which means “great magnificent city” in Latin, and that the excavation works, which started after the drilling work in 1986, were not continuing at the moment.
Coruk explained that excavation work was resumed in the ancient city after 22 years in 2013 and that until the last two years, excavations were carried out in cooperation with the Tokat Museum Directorate and Gaziosmanpaşa University.
“Until the last two years, excavation work was carried out here with the budget of the Special Provincial Administration. Excavations were used to be carried out for about two months a year. With the enactment of the subcontractor law, it was reduced to 28 days, but it is not enough. Excavations are necessary to be carried out at the ministry level in order to save this place. Sebastapolis needs to be restored and brought into tourism as soon as possible,” he said.
Stating that the people of the district live in the ancient city of Sebastapolis but the district should be relocated for the ancient city to be completely unearthed, Coruk said: “It should be brought to tourism with archaeological excavations with the support of the ministry. We are living on a history. People cannot build houses because this is an archaeological site. The city needs to be moved to a different area. We need to open new living spaces.”
Coruk also said that they believed that bringing the ancient city to tourism would play a crucial role in the development of Sulusaray.
[HH] 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 first 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 region 2,000 years ago because of its location on major routes and its thermal heat sources, which are still in use 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 temple with a marble floor was discovered on the northeast side of the city. The baths lie on the eastern part of Sebastopolis, water for which was taken from a thermal spring located about three kilometers to the southwest.
Drilling works started in the ancient city by the Tokat Museum Directorate in 1986 and continued until 1991. The work was later resumed in 2013.