İzmit’s royal tombs left to their fate

İzmit’s royal tombs left to their fate

İzmit’s royal tombs left to their fate

The tumuli built about 2,000 years ago for important people in the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s İzmit district, where the ancient structures are located, have been struggling to survive for centuries, and the tombs, surrounded by grass, need to be brought to tourism.

Founded by the Bithynia King Nikomedes I, İzmit (Nicomedia in ancient times) was the eastern capital of the Roman Empire after the Kingdom of Bithynia. Other than Istanbul, which was the only city in Anatolia that served as the capital of the Roman Empire for 46 years, İzmit is among the most important cities in history.

Structures in İzmit bear the traces of the ancient world. Among these important structures are the tumuli (a mound containing a tomb or a cemetery, formed by piling up soil) in the Kabaoğlu district, which are believed to be the tombs of ancient kings.

It is thought that the seven tumuli in the region, which date back to more than 2,000 years, may belong to the members of the Bithynia Kingdom. Now they are waiting to serve tourism.

Stating that İzmit was the only city in Anatolia that was the capital of the Roman Empire, apart from Istanbul, historian Onur Şahna said, “İzmit was the capital of an ancient empire. These are tumuli from ancient times. They are located three kilometers from the city center. Of the seven tumuli, three are in the village and four are around the village. Two of these tumuli were excavated, but nothing was found inside as they were robbed a long time ago. These tumuli were built in the Hellenistic period. It is thought that they may belong to the people of the Bithynia Kingdom because they are too luxurious tombs for a normal person to be buried. These tumuli were robbed in the 1950s and are now closed to visitors. After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, some studies were carried out there, and no burial material was found in the tumuli during these excavations.”

Stating that most of the historical buildings in İzmit are not protected, Şahna added, “The routes of historical places in İzmit have not been created for tourists to visit. These historical structures are left to their fate.”

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