Archaeologists Discover Ancient Roman Church of Nicea

Archaeologists have been looking around Turkey’s Lake Iznik for several years now, hoping to find artifacts of the civilization that used to inhabit this area. Thanks to a tip from aerial photographs, they now believe they have discovered the ruins of a church beneath the lake’s surface.

“When I first saw the images of the lake, I was quite surprised to see a church structure that clearly,” Mustafa Sahin told Live Science. “I was doing field surveys in Iznik [since 2006], and I hadn’t discovered such a magnificent structure like that.” Sahin is the head of archaeology at Bursa Uludağ University in Turkey.

Lake Iznik is located in the western tip of the country, about a two-hour drive from Istanbul. When the area was still under Roman rule, it was known as Nicea.

Did This Church Host the Council of Nicea?

The church archaeologists discovered is a Roman-style structure (basilica) and was built on the shore of the lake around A.D. 390, they believe. An earthquake destroyed the church in A.D. 740, causing the church to sink into the water. The ruins laid submerged and undiscovered for 1,600 years.

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Source: Church Leaders