27 June 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

A Pagan cemetery belongs to the Late Roman Empire period in Istanbul

During the restoration of the ancient Sheikh Suleiman Mosque, which was restored as part of the Med-Art Education Project by the Turkish General Directorate of Foundations and the Italian Association for Architecture, Art and City Restoration, a pagan cemetery that preserved its originality was unearthed.

The “pagan cemetery”, which is estimated to be 1700 years old, was found in 2018 in the basement of the historical Sheikh Suleiman Mosque in the Zeyrek District of the Fatih district of Istanbul.

The Sheikh Suleiman Mosque (Turkish Şeyh Süleyman Mescidi) originally was a Byzantine structure near the Pantocrator Monastery in Constantinople (Istanbul). Neither its identity nor its function was known until now.

The restoration was part of a project that included archaeological excavations, seismological tests, and scans near the site of the mosque, and research has shown that the masjid was originally built as a burial structure.

The interior of the eight-section burial chamber.
The interior of the eight-section burial chamber. Photo: Oğuz Büyükyıldırım

The grave was found on the ground floor of the mosque and belongs to the late Roman Empire period. Paganism continued and it was seemingly ended until Christianity became widespread in Istanbul, that is, until the 7th century.

Although the building is thought to be a Palaiologan structure, it is still controversial. Most of the Palaiologan buildings of Constantinople are dated to the era of Andronikos (12th century), but relative and absolute chronologies, especially for some neglected cases, are not always clear.

The interior of the eight-section burial chamber.
The interior of the eight-section burial chamber. Photo: Oğuz Büyükyıldırım

Archaeologist Murat Sav told: “In the basement of the structure on which a mosque has been built, there are two more floors [underneath] from the Roman period. The first floor underneath is an eight-section burial chamber. It is called an arcosolium,”.

The term arcosolium applies to one form of tombs that exist in ancient Roman catacombs. “Arcosoliums are an important burial structure from the pagan period. It is very important that they are found in Istanbul. In one of its sections, we have found a part that belongs to the altar used for pouring blood during an oath. It was plundered during the Byzantium period,”.

In addition, amphorae belonging to the Byzantine period were found on the roof of the mosque and were taken under protection.

In addition, amphorae belonging to the Byzantine period were found on the roof of the mosque and were taken under protection.

It consists of a central hexagonal superstructure with pendentives rising on a square substructure. There are four semicircular niches on the corners of the square and is surmounted by a shallow dome. Each of the walls that constitute the octagon have pointed arches on the outside, pointing to a later Ottoman renovation.  The southern niche was walled up and transformed into a mihrab when it was converted into a mosque.

From Byzantine Topographic Studies by Paspates (1877)
From Byzantine Topographic Studies by Paspates (1877)

The building was converted into a mosque by Sheikh Suleiman in the reign of Mehmed II. It was damaged by a fire in 1756 and later restored.

This beautiful mosque, which has an original architecture, is currently open and still in use.

Banner
Related Post

Georgia’s Queen of Kings “Tamar the Great”

17 August 2021

17 August 2021

Queen Tamar (1160-1235 CE) reigned during Georgia’s Golden Age, when the country’s frontiers stretched from the Black Sea to the...

The place of Puduhepa’s hometown Lawazantiya will be illuminated with Tatarlı Höyük

9 November 2021

9 November 2021

Excavations at Tatarlı Höyük (mound) are trying to reach findings that will enable the determination of the location of Lawazantiya,...

New discoveries have been made at a 9,000-year-old Amida mound in Turkey

1 January 2022

1 January 2022

The most recent archeological investigations at the 9,000-year-old Amida Mound in southeastern Turkey’s Diyarbakir province have uncovered fresh finds that...

2500-year-old ship graffiti sheds light on the history of Izmir in western Turkey

9 March 2022

9 March 2022

In the Smyrna Agora, which is one of the largest ancient agora in the city center of the world and...

Ushabti figurines on display at Izmir Archeology Museum

18 September 2021

18 September 2021

The 2,700-year-old “Ushabti” statuettes, discovered in archaeological digs in western Turkey and used in Egyptian burial ceremonies, are being shown...

Stone reliefs describing the Persian-Greek wars were found in the ancient city of Daskyleion in northwestern Turkey

16 August 2021

16 August 2021

A relief depicting a fifth-century BC battle between the Greeks and Persians was discovered in the ancient city of Dascylium...

The ancient city of Karkamış “House of the Seal” brings a different perspective to the Hittite-Assyrian relations with its important finds

6 May 2022

6 May 2022

Historical artifacts discovered during excavations by Turkish and Italian teams in the ancient city of Karkamış (Carchemish) in southern Gaziantep...

Private lodges were uncovered in the colosseum of the ancient city of Pergamon

24 September 2021

24 September 2021

Private lodges built for the elite-class people to watch gladiator or wild animal fights shows have been unearthed in the...

The inner wall was reached during the excavations of the tomb of the poet Aratos in the Soli Pompeiopolis Ancient City

13 August 2021

13 August 2021

The inner wall was reached during the excavations of the tomb of Aratos, the famous poet and astronomer of the...

Middle Ages living space uncovered at an altitude of 1,800 meters in eastern Turkey

20 December 2021

20 December 2021

A living space carved into a bedrock considered to belong to the Middle Ages was found at a point overlooking...

Remains of first Islamic madrassa found in Turkey’s Harran

1 December 2021

1 December 2021

The remnants of a 12th-century madrassa (Islamic institution of higher instruction) have been discovered in the archaeological site of Harran,...

A female executive’s seal from 3000 years ago was discovered in Turkey

29 October 2021

29 October 2021

During the excavations carried out in southeastern Turkey’s Gaziantep’s Karkamış (Carchemish) Ancient City, seals and prints determined to belong to...

Ceremonial meals may have been served in the 4500-year-old structure unearthed in the Yumuktepe Höyük in Southern Turkey

3 November 2021

3 November 2021

A 4,500-year-old structure containing a jar, many pots, and food fossils has been unearthed at the Yumuktepe Höyük (mound) in...

The 3,000-Year-Old Ancient City is Under Danger

8 February 2021

8 February 2021

For the port planned to be built in Izmir’s Aliağa district, a part of the 3,000-year-old ancient city is in...

Life continues in Iran’s 12,000-year-old settlement “Meymand village”

8 February 2022

8 February 2022

At the south-eastern Iranian province of Kerman near Shahr-Babak city, there is a village dating back to the Stone Age....

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.