Saint Thecla from Iconium is undoubtedly one of the most interesting female characters of early Christianity period. An underground church in the cave where Saint Thecla spent the later years of her life remains as a reminder of her activity. This place, now known as Ayatekla or Azize Thecla Yeraltı Kilisesi, is located on the outskirts of the town of Silifke, on the eastern section of the Mediterranean coast.
Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for December 2016. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!
2016 has been a year difficult to sum up in just one sentence, and this applies also to the area of archaeology in Turkey. Numerous fascinating discoveries have been made, often by chance, and we have gained a better understanding of past civilizations that once inhabited Asia Minor. On the other hand, Turkish tourism sector has been in steep decline since 2014, and this negative trend has also affected the income generated by the most popular museums and archaeological sites. Several scandals have been revealed, shaking the archaeological world as well as the general audience.
There are three rock churches in the valley that is situated to the south of Mustafapaşa centre. The most impressive of them is the church and the monastery of St. Nicholas. Along with the other two churches - St. Stephen and Sinasos - it forms Monastery Valley Open Air Museum (tr. Manastır Vadisi Açık Hava Müzesi). It is worth mentioning that there are 14 churches dedicated to St. Nicholas in Cappadocia.
İsa Bey Mosque (tr. İsabey Camii) is situated at the foot of Ayasoluk Hill in Selçuk. It is one of the finest examples of Seljuk architecture in Anatolia. Katharina Otto-Dorn established that this is the oldest Turkish mosque with a courtyard, as well as the oldest colonnaded mosque with a transept (i.e. a transverse nave) in Anatolia. This mosque is often compared to İlyas Bey Mosque in Miletus, dated to the same period.
The Archaeology Museum in Çanakkale collects the exhibits from the area of the ancient Troad, i.e. the Biga Peninsula. However, despite the enormous historical significance of the region and its incredibly rich history, the museum collection is quite disappointing. Nevertheless, a visit to this museum is recommended before going to Troy and Dardanos Tumulus, situated on the way to Troy. The museum was founded in 1936. Initially, it operated in a former church, but in 1984, it was moved to a new building. In the small garden of the museum, there are a lot of stone exhibits, including sarcophagi, columns, and gravestones.
Avanos, located on the Kızılırmak River (literally Red River), is a town famous for its beautiful pottery that has been produced there for millennia. The production process uses the clay extracted from Kızılırmak, with a characteristic reddish hue. However, Avanos is not only a ceramic workshop but also a charming town where it is possible to stroll along a riverside promenade. It is also an alternative accommodation base for exploring Cappadocia.
If you find yourself in the vicinity of Ephesus, you should find the ruins of the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers (tr. Yedi Uyuyanlar), located nearby. It is a Byzantine necropolis where dozens of rock-cut tombs can be seen. The grotto is one of the several places related to the legend of a group of youths who hid inside a cave and years after woke up to find the world changed. This legend has two versions, Christian, and Islamic.
Kızılhisar Castle (Red Fortress), also known as Keçi Kalesi or Goat Castle, is situated on Alamandağ Hill, in ancient times known as Gallesion. This hill stands in the vicinity of the town Belevi near Selçuk and is clearly visible from the İzmir-Aydın highway.
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was a great building belonging to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, nowadays a visit to Ephesus Artemision brings a big disappointment, comparable to trying to see the Great Altar of Zeus in Pergamon. It is because a single column and a bit of rubble remained of the Temple of Artemis to our times.