IZNIK - NICAEA
Iznik is of of the most unique town in the World with fertile soil,natural beauty,historical and cultural heritage,production of all kinds of fresh produce,lakes and a world famous art of tile making,not to mention a pleasant climate.
It is understood that the city`s footprint on civillization can be Great, Antigonos Monophthalmos had reconstructed the city and named it `Antigonia` in accordance with the traditions of his era.After the death of Alexander,his generals Antigonos and Lysimakhos started to fight to rule the territory.Lysimakhos defeated Antigonos in 301 B.C. whereas he promptly named the city `Niceae` after his beloved wife.
Soon after this,the King of Bithynia,Zipotes,conquered Nicaea and made in his capital.During the Bithynian era,gold coins were minted in the city,gaining it the name of the `Golden City.` the Battle between the Roman Empire and Bithynian Kingdom lasted for most of the 3rd century B.C.In the end,the Roman Generals defeated the Bithynians and sieged the city.
In 259 A.D.,disaster struck when the Goths plundered the city.After his invasion,Rome had it rebuilt once again whereby they surrounded the city with nearly five kilometers of walls and 16 gates,four of which were main gates.Many of the monumental structures were destroyed in earthquakes that struck the area in the years 123 B.C., 358, 362 and respectively.Arab hordes en route to Constantinople besieged Niceae during the 7th century.Prior to this invasion,the city walls were strengthened and the Arabian troops were repelled.
The Roman Empire was divided into two Empire was then called Byzantine.Niceae was reconstructed during the Byzantine era whereas churches,aqueducts and cren were built.
The Seljuk Sultan,Alparslan Suleyman defeated the Byzantines at the battle of Malazgirt in the year 1071,whereas one of his commenders conquered the city in 1075.The city`s name was thereby changed to Iznik and it became the capital of the Seljuk Empire.
The first Crusades,who were commanded by Godfrey De Bouillon,assailed the city in 1079.The attact,which was supported by the Byzantines,lasted in 37 days.The Seljuks had to evacuate the city to prevent it from being pillaged.In 1204,the Fourth Crusades captured Constantinople and created the Latin Empire.The Byzantine Emperor fled to Iznik,declaring Byzantine as an Empire and Iznik as its capital.The walls were reinforced during his era.In addition,another front wall was built to protect the city.In the year 1261,Emperor Michael VII capotured Contantinople which beome the seat of the Byzantine Empire once again.
Ever since the founding of the Ottoman Empire in 1299,Iznik was one of the cities desired to be captured.It was conquered in 1331 by Sultan Orhan.After 234 years,was put under Turkish rule.Iznik was reconstructed,with several mosques,medreses(schools of theology),Turkish baths and caravanserai built particularly during Sultan Murat II and the Candarli family ear.Iznik had become on of the major stopovers and temporary quarters on the way from Istanbul to Anatolia cities for the Ottoman Army.Between the 14th-16th centurries,Iznik played an impotant role in the an advancement of Turkish cultural life.It became a cultural center where savants of Islam,Moslem theologians and poets were bropught up.During this period, eminent islam scientists thaught lessonsnIznik was then called `The Hometown of Eminenet Scientists`Iznik began to experience a decline after Istanbul was conqured imn 1453 and the subsequent sttttrengthening of Ottoman power over the rest of Anatolia.
Moroover,the Candarli family lost its prominence when Grand Vizier Candarli Kara Halil Pasha was beheaded in 1453.
Beginning in the 15th century,the rich and powerful failies of Iznik began migrating to Istanbul,whereas Iznik was practically abondoned losing its prosperity.
Today,Iznik is one of the unique cities in the world which integrateds the remains of the Roman,Byzantina,Seljuk and Ottoman monuments and historical sites.In this respec,Iznik has maintained its laboratory-like character with a combined architectural heritage.
Iznik is a touristic town 85kms from Bursa.ring 753sq km in area,It has a population of 50 000.
THE FIRST and SEVENTH EUCUMENICAL COUNCILS
Iznik bears special importance in Christianity.The 1st Council met in the Senate Palace in 325 A.D. with the participation of 218 bishops.There were two main issues discussed during this momentous assembly.The first one was that Christ was a humble man and not the son of the Almighty.This thesis was supported by Airus,a theologist from Alexandria,who found quite a lot of supporters though most bishops reacted againist this thesis.In the end,subsequent long drawn out debates dealt white the disssertation of Christ being the son of God gained approval.
The dates of Christian holidays and text comprising of 20 article known as Nicaea Edicts were put into effect subsequent to this Council.The 7th Council was also held in the Nicaea Hagia Sophia in 787 A.D. which put to end to the ban imposed on church icons.
THE ART OF TILE MAKING
During the 15th-17th centuries,Iznik tiles were widely used in Ottoman architecture as a decorative element and incredibly developed.These tiles were used in mosquesk,bathslibraries,pavillions and palaces.Iznik tiles were to have an significant impact upon Turkish architecture and decorative art.The beauty and magnifience of the buildings gained significance through the decorative embellishments utilized,augmenting the art value and esthetical beauty of the buildings gained significance through the decorative embellisment utilized,augmenting the art value and esthetical beauty of the stuctures.In additiond,bowls,plates,cups,teacups,oil lamps and mugs displayed in many of the major museums were made in the Iznik tile furnices.
According to The World renown Turkish Traveller Evliya Celebi,wrote in his book of travels that there were more than 300 tile furnice in 1648.
Due to the provailing economic crisis and a lack of state order,the decline of tile production had begun by the end of the 17th century,whereas one was not able to trace the footsteps of the tiles by th 18th century.
MONUMENTS OF IZNIK
The Roman Period: The Walls
The city walls surrounding iznik measures 4970 Meters in length and were built in the pentagon shape.They have four main and 12 secondary gates.The main gates are called Istanbul,Lefke,Yenisehir,and Gol.Four gates can be seen when you stand at the junction of the two main roads to thje city.Averaging 11-13 meters in height,the city walls have a total of 114 towers which were origionally round-andsquare-shaped.
The Palce of Senate: Presently known as Inciralti Sarayi,the Place was constracted on the shores of Iznik Lake durind the 4th century A.D.Decisions affecting Christianity were taken by the First Council,which convened under the roof of this palace.
The Monument of Bestas(Obelisk): This monumental tomb rises out of a vineyard which is stuated on the sside of old Roman Road,five kilometers from the city centre.
From the Greek inscriptions, it is understood that this tomb beloged to Cassius Philicus from 1st century A.D.The monument rieses on top of a pedestal shaped like rectancular prism.Five stones have been carved into triangular prism and placed on top of the rectangular basemThis monument stands 12 m,high and it is believed that Philicus was buired on one side of the monument.
The Antique Theater: The teatre is located on a large piece of land between Yenisehir Gate and the Lkae,and was constructed during the reign of Emperor Traianus by the Bithynian Consul Plinus between 98-117 A.D.Like the Side Teatre in Antalya it was built on Plain.This teatre is one of the unique monuments of its sort.This magnificent building rises,obove seven trapezoid vaults and 24 cradles,whereas the satge was decorated with marble frescos.
The Berber Rock: Situated on the soughteast slope of Abdulvahap Hill, east of Iznik,this rock is a monument tomb which was carved from asingle rock.It is a distinctive example of Hellenistic Era craftsmanship in Iznik.Known as 1Berber Rock` BY THE LOCALS THIS monumnet was built for Bithynian King Prusias II (185-149B.C.)
Docorative embellishments,molders and bas-relief designs were etched on the side of this rock.
Stone Bridge (Tas Kopru): This bridge is located to the west of Iznik 3kms outside Orhangazi.It was built during the Roman Era and is situated on the historical Silk Road.
MONUMENTS of the BYZANTINE ERA:
The Church of Hagia Sophia:This church is stuated in the exact centre of town two main roads meet at the junction of the four main gates.It was built in the Byzantine era during the 4th century A.D.The originakl stucture of the church was altered greatly as a result of the damage caused by the numerous earthques that have struck the region.The Ottoman Sultan Orhangazi converted the church into a mosque went through a major renovation by Mimar Sinan in the 16th century.The 7th century Eucumenical Council was held in this church in the year 787 (Sept.24-Oct.23).It is for this reason that the Hagia Sophia is important for Christian pilgrims.
Built in the 4th century A.D.,the Hypoge is and underground tomb located in the Hespekli Distirict of Elbeyli .Tyhe grave chamber is covered with a vault,whereas the ceiling and walls were docorated with colorful early CXhristian frescoes.Plant and geometric desgns and animal figures can be seen in these frescoes,which have maintained their artistic beauty as they were drawn with natural pigments.The Hypoge is a unique monument which shows Christian religious designs in conjuc tion with Byzantine artwork.
The aqueducts are located on the east side of the Churcyh of Koimesis and erected during the 6th century.To enter this well-preserved monument,you have to take eleven stairs that led underground and near baptism pool shaped like cubic prismn.
Stones with inscriptions and figures in Greek and Hebrew were dismantled from other buildings and placed around the pool.
THE CHURCH OF KOIMESIS:
The church which is located on Mustafa Pasa Street in Yenimahalle was built in the eight century by Bishop Hyacinthhos.It was section of the Hyacinthos Monastery.Mosaics decorated the dome ND THE VAULTS.On the apse vault was a mosaic with a golden background of the Virgin Mary embracing Jesus Christ.On each side of this mosaic were four mosaics of angels dressed in emperor`s clothes.Another four mosaics consist of the for gospel writers showing the times they wrote their gospels.There were also some icons and paintings in the church.One of the paintings in the church.One of the paintings portrayed the meeting of council that was held in the year 325.The Church is almost completley demolished today.Only some parts of the foundation and floor mosaics remain.
THE CHURCH OF HYGIOS TRYPHONOS:
This church is situated on the left side of the AtaTURK Boulevard which enters though the Istanbul Gate.The Building technique and the cross shape plan of the church indicate that it was from 12th century Byzantine period.The ruins of the church had been found in the year 1946.Today only the remains of some walls and few floor mosaics exist.
Monuments From Ottoman Period:
The Green Mosque
The Nilufer Hatun Soup Kitchen The Iznik Museum
The Haci Ozbek Mosque
The Seyh Kutbettin Mosque and Tomb
The Esref-I Rumi Mosque and Tomb
The Mahmut Celebi Mosque
The Yakub Celebi Mosque and Tomb
The Mosque and the Bath-Hamam of Orhan Gazi
The Suleyman Pasha School of Theology
The Bath of Ismail Bey
The Bath of Murat II Haci Hamza Hamam
The Bath of Konak
The Tomb of Kyrgyz
The To,b of Sari Saltuk
The Tomb of Alaaddin-i Musri
The Tomb of Abdulvahap Sancaktari
The Tomb of Candarli Halil Hayrettin Pasha
The Tomb of Candarli Ibrahip Pasa
The Tomb of candarli Kara Halil Pasa
The Tomb of Esref Baba
The tomb of Ahiveyn Sultan - Afyon Sultan
Tho Tomb of the Moodies-Huysuzlar
The Arab Mosque Namazgah
The Excavation Zone of the Iznik Ovens
Ministry of Culture and Tourism Brochure