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At bottom of lake in Turkey are ruins of Roman basilica

  • History

Archaeologists in Turkey discovered in 2017 the remains of a building that could have been built in 325 CE. Interestingly, the find was found underwater and, according to experts, the First Council of Nicaea could have taken place in this basilica.

1,600-year-old ruins have been discovered at the bottom of Lake Iznik, in Bursa, northwestern Turkey. Scientists learned about the presence of the building thanks to aerial photos taken in 2014.

The building has a basilica plan with three naves. Currently, work is underway to launch an underwater museum where tourists will be able to admire the ruins of the structure at a depth of 1.5-2.5 meters.

The church was probably built in the 4th century CE, in honour of Saint Neophyte, who died a martyr in 303 CE. The neophyte came to Nicaea to denounce the pagan faith and to convert the infidels. At the beginning of the 3rd century CE, there was a strong persecution ordered by Emperor Diocletian. The basilica was built in the place where Neofit died as a result of torture by Roman soldiers. There are also assumptions that it was in this basilica that the famous First Council of Nicaea, convened by Constantine I, in 325 CE, was held.

According to experts, the church collapsed in the year 740, when a strong earthquake occurred. With the change in the water level in the nearby lake, the remains of the structure disappeared under the surface of the water.