June 2020 in Turkish archaeology

Antonine Nymphaeum in Sagalassos
Antonine Nymphaeum in Sagalassos

June of 2020 saw a gradual revival of cultural tourism in Turkey. Archaeological sites, such as Sagalassos and Ephesus as well as Sümela Monastery, were re-opened, even if on a limited scale. Moreover, several restoration projects were announced, including the beautiful and unique theatre-stadium complex in Aizanoi.

Turkish Archaeological News collects the most important, interesting and inspiring news from Turkish excavation sites. Here's the review for June 2020. Have we missed anything? Let us know by using Contact tab!

June 2, 2020

Mersin’s Roman-era tombs defy time

Monumental tombs of the Roman era in the ancient geography of Cilicia in the southern province of Mersin are defying time. But experts are saying some of these structures, dating back to the 2nd century, should be restored as soon as possible, as they face the danger of collapse. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 3, 2020

Black Sea region’s Sümela Monastery reopens

Restoration works have been ongoing for four years at Sümela Monastery in the Black Sea province of Trabzon’s Maçka district. Now the visitors of the monastery are welcomed in line with social distancing rules. Their fever is taken at the entrance and they are not allowed inside without a mask. On the first day, a small number of people visited the monastery. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 4, 2020

1,800 years on, water channels in Turkey’s southeast remain mystery

The water channels of Zerzevan Castle, a site on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Temporary list, built so intricately 1,800 years ago in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır’s Çınar district remains a mystery to this day. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 5, 2020

Unique Trajan statue restored

The statue of a Roman emperor, which was found during archaeological excavations in Laodicea ancient city in the western province of Denizli last year, will be put on display at the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum soon. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 6, 2020

Unearthed relic in Patara honors Roman senator

An unearthed inscription in the ancient city of Patara in Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, honors the Roman senator Tiberius Claudius Flavianus Titianus Celer. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 8, 2020

1,600-year old basilica becomes more visible amid outbreak

The remains of a nearly 1,600-year-old basilica that was discovered in 2014 under Lake İznik in the northwestern province of Bursa has now become more visible as pollution declines thanks to the restrriction measures taken amind the coronavirus outbreak. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 10, 2020

Iconic Ottoman palace reopens its doors to visitors

İshak Pasha Palace, a fine example of Ottoman architecture in eastern Turkey, opened its doors to visitors again after normalizing from the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 13, 2020


Göbeklitepe, dubbed “zero point of history” with its history spanning millennia, was one of the many ancient sites to shut down as Turkey enforced strict measures to contain the plague of the 21st century. Opened last week due to the country’s normalization phase, it has already welcomed almost 2,000 people. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 15, 2020

Museum in Hakkari to be built to display history of southeastern province

A university in the southeastern province of Hakkari has launched efforts to set up a museum, named “City Archive,” to display the history of the city to the next generations. The museum, which will be inside Meydan Madrasah built in the 18th century, will exhibit waxed statues, figures representing Hakkari’s culture and the madrasah, documents of Ottoman archives and the works of old scholars. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Ancient city of Ephesus limits visitor numbers

Turkey’s iconic ancient city of Ephesus in the picturesque Aegean region has decided to limit the number of daily visitors due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. A total of 650 people will be allowed to visit the historic site at a time, said Cengiz Topal, director of the Ephesus Museum. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Gümüşler – The Byzantine Cave Monastery

Gümüşler Monastery is an archaeological site and Byzantine monastery carved out of rock in the modern-day town of Gümüşler in Turkey. Gümüşler was called Tracias during the Byzantine period and was a centre for religious learning, constructed sometime between the 8th-12th century AD. Source: Heritage Daily

June 17, 2020

Cat skeletons in Yenikapı metro site reveal new facts

Excavations at the undersea metro construction sites of Yenikapı and Marmaray in Istanbul that were carried out between 2004 and 2014 in Istanbul unearthed cat remains and skeletons along with many other animals dating back to the Byzantine era. Some of these were given to the Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa Veterinary Faculty of (IUC). Veterinary Faculty Osteoarchaeologist Professor Vedat Onar, who examines the bones of living creatures and aims to reach information about the past through scientific analysis, said that the cat skeleton donated to them provided information about life in Istanbul in the past. He emphasized that cats in Istanbul during the Byzantine period lived in very good conditions compared to those in Europe and that they had no pathological disorders. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Knidos, center of culture, arts and trade, ready for new term

Known for its special location at the junction of the Aegean and the Mediterranean regions and had been home to many famous scientists in the past, the 2,600-year-old Knidos ancient city in Datça will again take its visitors on a history journey. The city, famous for its two ancient theaters and two harbors, which are rushed by thousands of local and foreign tourists every year, reopened its doors to visitors by taking necessary measures against the new type of coronavirus. Those who don’t wear masks are not allowed to enter the ancient city. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 18, 2020

Ottoman sultan's portrait to be sold in London

A portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, known as Fatih Sultan Mehmet in Turkish, will be put up for auction in London on June 25. Thought to be drawn by Italian painter Gentile Bellini in 1480, it is expected to fetch $500,000-$740,000 and will be sold at the world-famous Christie's auction house. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Storytime: Istanbul and cats – bound together since Byzantine times

While digging deep underground as part of the construction of Istanbul’s intercontinental commuter train the Marmaray, a collection of cat bones was the last thing one team of municipal employees expected to find. Over the course of 10 years of digging, which commenced in 2004, workers had, of course, come across dozens of animal bones, but these skeletal remains stood out from the rest. Were these skeletons in the closet from Byzantine times? Or were they not as sinister as they seemed? Source: Daily Sabah

Ancient city of Hadrianopolis in Black Sea region reinvigorated by visits

The ancient city of Hadrianopolis in the Eskipazar district of Turkey's northern Karabük province has reopened its doors to visitors following a hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak. Excavations started in 2003 at the structures in Hadrianopolis and continue in periods under the direction of Ersin Çelikbaş, a lecturer at the Archaeology Department of Karabük University (KBÜ). Source: Daily Sabah

June 23, 2020

Sagalassos welcomes visitors after outbreak

The ancient city of Sagalassos, which is known as “the city of love and emperors” in Ağlasun district of the southern province of Burdur, and where strict measures were taken with the new normalization process, welcomes its visitors again. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Secrets of Isaura ancient city waiting to be unearthed

The ancient city of Isaura, home to the Zengibar Castle, welcomes visitors to Turkey's central Konya province with its impressive walls, bastions, theater, triumphal arch and rock tombs. The ancient city, described as the "Ephesus of Konya," holds the potential of becoming a prime site for local and foreign visitors once more of its historical riches are unearthed. Source: Daily Sabah

June 24, 2020

Place of an ancient mountain revealed

The location of the ancient Masa Mountain, plundered by people who migrated to the Oinoanda region of today’s western province of Muğla approximately 2,300 years ago from Termessos ancient city in modern day Döşemealtı district of Antalya, has been determined. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Restoration in ancient city of Aizanoi begins

Archeologists on June 24 began restoration efforts of the ancient city of Aizanoi in present-day western Turkey. Elif Özer, an archaeology professor at Pamukkale University, told Anadolu Agency that the team would focus on restoration works this year and already began at the 5,000-year-old site's theater and stadium. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Anatolia’s 1st Turkish mosque to open to worship after restoration

The first Turkish mosque in Anatolia, which was built in what is today known as the Ani Ruins in Kars province after Seljuk Sultan Alparslan won the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, is being restored. The mosque, built by Ebu'l Manuçehr Bey in 1072 and named after him, will be restored under the coordination of directorates of the Ministry of Industry and Technology and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Source: Daily Sabah

June 25, 2020

2,000-year-old pirate city waiting to be discovered

The “pirate city” Iotape, located in the Alanya district of the southern province of Antalya, which is home to Roman- and Byzantine-era ruins, is waiting to be discovered. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

Istanbul Municipality buys Ottoman sultan’s portrait

A portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, known as Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who led the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, was sold at an auction in London on June 25. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu announced on Twitter that the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality bought the painting. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 28, 2020

Settled life in ancient city draws attention

The residents of the Dodurga neighborhood of the Seydikemer district of the western province of Muğla continue living among the ruins of the ancient city of 2,000-year-old Sidyma. Source: Hürriyet Daily News

June 29, 2020

New findings set to change Bergama’s history

New finds during excavations in Bergama, a district in the Aegean province of İzmir, are set to shed light on the city’s history, as they indicate civilizations were established in the region earlier than known. Source: Hürriyet Daily News