Archaeology in Turkey - 2023 in review

The year 2023 was a mixed one for the Turkish archaeology. On one hand, the beginning of the year was marked by a disastrous earthquake that hit the southeastern part of the country, causing the great losses, including the damage to numerous archaeological sites and museums. On the other hand, in September 2023, UNESCO announced of the entry on the World Heritage List of two new items from Turkey, including the famous site of ancient Gordion. The other entry were the Wooden Hypostyle Mosques of Medieval Anatolia.

The Heroon in Sagalassos
The Heroon in Sagalassos

December 2023 in Turkish archaeology

In December 2023, some significant archaeological discoveries were announced for the area of Turkey. In the southeastern region, a rare 800-year-old bronze talismanic healing bowl was discovered in Hasankeyf excavations. In the Aegean region, a workshop dating back 8,200 years, showing the village life, pleasure, eating and drinking culture of the people of İzmir, was unearthed in Yeşilova Mound. Finally, in the Black Sea region, during ongoing excavations in the ancient city of Prusias ad Hypium, archaeologists uncovered a beautiful mosaic featuring a duo of lions.

Ancient theatre in Prusias ad Hypium
Ancient theatre in Prusias ad Hypium

Menüçehr Mosque in Ani

The Menüçehr Mosque is most likely the first mosque built by the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia. This mosque, built at the edge of the gorge overlooking Arpa Çay (Akhurian River), is said to have been constructed by the emir called Manuchihr ibn Shavur. The Shaddadid dynasty, which ruled Ani from around the year 1072, began with him as the first ruler. However, the actual construction date and the origins of this structure are still stirring much controversy.

Menüçehr Mosque in Ani
Menüçehr Mosque in Ani

Cathedral of Ani

The Ani Cathedral is the biggest building in Ani, which was the capital of medieval Armenia during the Bagratid era. It's located in eastern Turkey, near the border with Armenia. The building was completed at the beginning of the 11th century, according to the plan of the architect Trdat, and for almost half a century, it served as the residence of the Catholicos, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The cathedral is considered to be the largest and most impressive building in the city. It is a domed basilica with a rectangular plan, although it is currently missing the dome and most of the drum supporting it. The entire area of Ani, including the cathedral, was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016.

Cathedral of Ani
Cathedral of Ani

Church of Saint Gregory of Tigran Honents in Ani

The Church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator in Ani was constructed on behalf of the affluent and pious merchant Tigran Honents and was completed in 1215. He not only paid for its construction, but also provided numerous valuable items, such as crosses, lamps, gold and silver vessels, and sacred artefacts. Honents belonged to one of the numerous extremely wealthy merchant families of Ani that amassed considerable wealth primarily through commerce. Although these families were wealthy, they lacked great political or military power.

The Church of Saint Gregory of Tigran Honents in Ani
The Church of Saint Gregory of Tigran Honents in Ani

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