The peculiar case of Fatma Sultan Cemetery in Edirne offers an opportunity of demonstrating how even simple facts can be misinterpreted and confused. The main element of this puzzle is the grave of a 12 or 13 years-old girl called Fatma Hanım, situated in this cemetery, dated to the years 1573-1574.
It was quite perplexing to observe that the excavation trench reaching down into the depths of the Sacred Spring was in a condition of being reinterred when I visited the site on Sunday. Perplexing, for as to my knowledge, the archaeologists had burrowed no further than 1 to 1.5 metres beneath the surface. That may have been enough to reveal the broken and almost demolished stairwells, but if it were their aim to locate the 'sweet waters' of the spring (and I do not know if that was their intent) it is well recorded by none less than Klaus Tuchelt, former Director of Excavations here in Didyma, that the spring resides at least 2.5 metres beneath the surface of the Archaic floor upon which we walk today. See Tuchelt K., 'Fragen zum Naiskos von Didyma,' Archäologister Anzeiger, 1986. I have also learnt that this depth is noted in the diaries of Knackfuß and Hörmann.
The archaeologists were rather busy in July of 2019, excavating the ancient city of Hadrianopolis in Turkey's northern Karabük province, unearthing a cistern storing fresh water dating back to the medieval era in the ancient city of Tium, and continuing the research in the Ayanis castle, built by the Urartian King Rusa II on a hill overlooking Lake Van. Moreover, excavation works on Tetrapylon Avenue of the ancient city of Aphrodisias in western Turkey's Aydın province will soon be completed.
Another archaeological season is now in full flow, much as the inundation of the southeast section of the Apollo Temple is also. It appears that the wonderfully articulate and knowledgeable team assembled this year have no doubt noticed that the aquatic theme is rather of a pressing concern. For their focus of excavation has been correctly identified as the saturation of the stadium section, threatening the existence of the archaic temenos (enclosing wall of a sacred area) and the exciting exploration of an ancient sacred spring within the adyton (inner sanctum).
Currently, there are two active churches belonging to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Edirne. In addition to the better-known church of Saints Constantine and Helena, there is a smaller church of Saint George (bg. Свети Георги - Sveti Georgi, tr. Ayayorgi Kilisesi) in the city, built in the second half of the 19th century. It was formally consecrated on the 9th of May, 1880. The construction of the church was realised with the permission of Sultan Abdul Hamid II by the governor of Edirne, Rauf Pasha.