26 May 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Drought unveils sunken basilica in Turkey

The sunken basilica remains discovered in 2014 became visible as a result of Lake Iznik’s water withdrawal.

Climate change is having an impact not only on the oceans but also on large inland lakes. Known as Askania in ancient times, Iznik Lake with a surface area of 298 km² and an altitude of 85 m; Turkey’s fifth is the largest lake in the Marmara Region. Lake Iznik is adversely affected by seasonal drought and presents an example of how a waterbody can and will change. Once a prominent structure on dry land covered by water in the subsequent centuries, an ancient basilica’s ruins rose up again in the lake recently.

The drawdown in the lake reached up to 50 meters and it also affected the basilica area 20 meters offshore and 1.5 – 2 meters deep.

This ancient basilica in Bursa was built around A.D. 4 on the shore of the lake beside the city of Nicaea, which is known as Iznik today. However, it was destroyed in an earthquake in A.D. 8 and later became submerged as the lake level changed. The submerged basilica was cited among the most significant discoveries in 2014 in the world. The basilica is predicted to have been built in honor of Saint Neophytos. It was most likely the site of the first Nicaea Ecumenical Council, according to archaeologists.

Sunken basilica in İznik lake
Photo: AA

Taylan Sevil, the former director of the İznik Museum, told Anadolu Agency that a large part of the basilica has now re-emerged and merged with the lakeside.

The sunken basilica that was discovered in 2014 has recently become visible as a result of Lake Iznik’s water levels dropping, according to Taylan Sevil. Sevil also emphasized the basilica’s historical significance in terms of archaeology.

Sevil added that the historical basilica is one of the most significant discoveries of the century in the annals of world archaeology. Due to the low water levels brought on by climate change, the basilica, which was once submerged in the lake but has since merged with the landscape, is now accessible on foot.

Archaeologists recently uncovered important finds in the sunken basilica. You can read the latest developments by clicking the link below.

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