Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 26 November |
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Ancient Byzantine church unearthed in İstanbul

J-P Mauro - published on 07/08/20

1,500 years of history are just waiting to be discovered underfoot.

In the 1930s Constantinople’s name was changed to İstanbul, but the city’s rich heritage is ever-present in the countless ruins routinely discovered during construction work. Now an ancient Byzantine church containing a water spring and early artworks has been discovered under a building that was undergoing renovations.

Greek Reports relates that the site is located on Amiral Tadfil Street, which was near city’s center when it was known as Constantinople. This area was previously excavated in the late 1990s, but apparently a trove of Christian history and art went unnoticed. Discovered under the building were several chambers that are believed to have once been part of a place of worship.


UNDERWATER BYZANTINE BASILICA

Read more:
1,600-year-old basilica found underwater in what was ancient Nicaea

In the first chamber experts were thrilled to find floor mosaics estimated to be up to 1,500 years old. Photographs of the mosaics, in the video featured above, show clear images formed with different colored stones. Although the images are a bit too worn to be identified, they are obviously decorative and suggest that the site was linked to wealth. Greek Reporter posits that the site may have been in the vicinity of the Great Palace of Constantinople.

Below the mosaic-clad floors is a second chamber believed to have been a Byzantine church. Decorated with a marble slab, which could have served as an altar, the room includes a spring that would have been used for cleansing rituals and baptisms. On the wall above the font is a fresco, the image of which is just barely recognizable as the Blessed Mother with the Christ Child, with illegible text surrounding her.

Little more is known of the church, which has yet to be identified by name. It is not open to the public, as it is beneath privately owned property, but more photos of the site can be explored here. We look forward to further discoveries as the excavation continues.

Make sure to visit the slideshow below to discover a precious collection of ancient Byzantine mosaics. 

Tags:
ArchaeologyEastern ChristianIstanbul
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Luz Ivonne Ream
What’s the secret of this couple’s 64 years o...
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
CHRIST THE KING
Edifa
Why do we say that "Christ is King"?
CHRISTMAS AD
Cerith Gardiner
This heartwarming TV ad focuses on what reall...
Cerith Gardiner
This Irish blessing is what we all need to he...
Zelda Caldwell
SpaceX’s ‘Resilience’ commanded by astronaut ...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.