Documentary on historic basilica in the making
French director Pascal Guerin has started the shooting of his documentary “The Sunken Secrets of Basilica” in the northwestern province of Bursa about the underwater basilica in Lake İznik.
Studies on the basilica in Lake İznik, selected as one of the 10 most important discoveries of 2014 by Archeology Magazine, published by the American Archeology Institute, are being carried out by the İznik Museum Directorate.
The idea of documenting the basilica, which is located about 20 meters off the coast and 2 meters deep in İznik, came up during talks between Bursa Uludağ University (BUÜ) Archeology Department academic Mustafa Şahin, who is the scientific consultant of underwater excavations, and Guerin, whom he met in France.
After finding support for the documentary, Guerin came to Bursa for the shooting with the permission of Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry. The shooting, which is set to take two years, will cover the mysterious journey of the basilica that emerged in Lake İznik and the work done so far.
The documentary explores when and what kind of natural disasters caused the structures to remain under the lake. Collaborating with the Geology Department of the Grenoble University of France, clues about the functions of underwater structures are evaluated.
Continuing his studies on the basilica, which is estimated to sink in the lake due to a series of earthquakes, Şahin has been guiding the shootings. Interviews with scientists, local administrators, representatives of the tourism sector, photographer Aykut Güngör who discovered the building, cameraman Mehmet Yiğit and the then Metropolitan Municipality Press and Public Relations Coordinator Saffet Yılmaz were made in the first part of the shootings. After Bursa, the shooting will continue in France and Italy.