The biggest archaeological news in February was the publication from a research team led by volcano biologist Hardy Pfanz explaining how Plutonium in Hierapolis - "Gate to Hell" - killed its victims with a cloud of deadly carbon dioxide. Moreover, the past month fell under the shadow of approaching inundation of Hasankeyf, one of the most fascinating historical sites in Turkey.
The Bedesten is the oldest of Edirne historical bazaars as it dates back to 1418. The founder of its construction was Sultan Mehmet I who had it built immediately after the completion of the Old Mosque. The covered market was to serve as a source of income for the mosque as a part of the vakıf - a religious foundation - to provide the upkeep of the mosque and salaries of its staff.
Bigalı is a tiny village, located in the province of Çanakkale, on the Gallipoli Peninsula. During the First World War, is became an important strategic point. Colonel Mustafa Kemal selected this place as his headquarters. This heroic commander, later known as Atatürk, largely contributed to the victory on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and the salvation of Istanbul against the attack of the Allied forces.
Mount Nemrut, the monumental resting place of King Antiochus I Theos from the Kingdom of Commagene, is one of the most fascinating ancient places in Turkey. Although the country abounds in magnificent relics of antiquity, Mount Nemrut certainly deserves the place on the top ten list of the archaeological hits of Asia Minor. Moreover, the hierothesion of Antiochus is a sensational sight on a global scale. At the same time, it is an archaeological site that still holds many secrets. Until now, it has not been possible to determine with certainty what the artificial embankment on the peak of the mountain conceals. What's more, astronomy enthusiasts can try to solve the mystery of the famous "lion horoscope" placed on one of the bas-reliefs decorating the mountain. Finally, the huge sculptures on Mount Nemrut are a perfect illustration of religious syncretism and Antiochus' attempt to introduce a new state cult that combined Greek, Persian and Armenian influences.
The beginning of 2018 brought new hopes for recovering Turkish travel industry as well as some fascinating archaeological discoveries, including ancient burial chambers, holy water springs and underground cities. A milestone found in the area of ancient Termessos has risen prospects of finding a yet unknown ancient city. Moreover, a breakthrough in our knowledge about the prehistory of Asia Minor is expected as the European Research Council has given Turkish scientists a €2.5 million grant for the DNA analysis of 1,500 people who lived in the Anatolian region during the Neolithic period.