The drought in Lake Iznik revealed the submerged basilica

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The drought in Turkey led to the water levels of Lake Iznik receding. With the receding water, the basilica considered sacred by Christians resurfaced.

The decrease in water level due to the drought and relentless water extraction in Lake Iznik, Turkey’s fifth-largest lake, is steadily increasing. As a result of the receding water, the basilica considered sacred by Christians, which was previously submerged, has also resurfaced.

The basilica, which was discovered during a helicopter trip in 2014 and is considered one of the top 10 discoveries in the world, was located approximately 20 meters off the shore of Lake Iznik. This monumental structure, now referred to as the “Senate Palace,” has dimensions of approximately 30×19 meters.

Iznik Lake
Photo: Iznik District Governorate

This structure, constructed in the name of Saint Neophytos, is one of the Early Christian period churches that were commonly found throughout the territories of the Roman Empire. It was built using materials and dimensions typical of that era.

The drought around Lake Iznik, where no rain has fallen for 60 days, has reached an extreme level. The largest dock of the lake is now completely above ground.

Photo: AA

Bekir Uslu, who owns a business around Lake Iznik, said, “I have been an operator on the shores of Lake Iznik for about 20 years. I have never seen such a drought in 20 years. The largest dock of Lake Iznik is now on dry land. In 2014, the basilica church in Iznik, which was among the top ten discoveries in the world, was found underwater, but now it’s on dry land. Unfortunately, there is about 50-100 meters of water where we are, but in other areas, there are places where it has receded by 100-150-200 meters. January is about to end, and these lands have not seen any rain or snow. Unfortunately, this drought is not a good sign.”

It is claimed that the First Council of Nicaea (Nicaea I), where hundreds of copies of the Christian holy book, the Bible, were collected and reduced to four with the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the others were burned, was held in this basilica.

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