Discover Iznik, the Old Nicea.

Around Bursa there are many interesting places to visit. One of them is the small town of Iznik, the old Nicaea. In this city there are numerous archaeological remains, a beautiful lake, workshops of handmade ceramics and all the tranquility that the traveler needs to relax from the stresses of the big city.

The city of iznik is located 90 km north of Bursa. It is easy to travel by car or minibus from the city center. It is an ideal place to spend a weekend day.

It is a very important place for Western History, in the year 325 the Roman emperor Constantine the Great founded the first council of the Christian Church where the foundations of the Christian religion that we know today were laid. The traveler can see the church of Agia Sofia, now transformed into a mosque. Where are the remains of the primitive Church in which bishops of all the Roman empire decided what would be the Christian doctrine.

The importance of this city is shown in its imposing byzantine walls, 5 km in diameter, and with double doors typical of the imperial era. To this day, many parts of the wall are in ruins but other parts are in restoration so maybe in a few years we could enjoy better this beautiful monument.

Another important archaeological remains of the city is its roman theater (II century), now under study and restoration. The grandee of its walls are one more sample of the importance of this city in the old age and during the middle age, where it even became capital of the Byzantine Empire for a few years (1204-1261). Strolling through the ruins of the theater is an incredible sensation reminiscent of the vision of the romantic poets who in the nineteenth century walked the ruins of Greece and Rome in search of inspiration.

To this day the Roman theater is being studied and restored

In 1331 Nicaea was conquered by the Ottomans who named it Iznik. There are numerous remains of the Ottoman legacy such as the Suleyman Pasha Madrasa, the Yesil Camii (green mosque) or the Nilüfer Hatum Imareti (a former 14th century poor dining hall which today is the city museum).

But the most important Ottoman legacy of Nicaea is its pottery, famous all over the world. Since the sixteenth century the Iznik pottery has decorated numerous buildings and mosques of the whole Anatalia. His dishes were the dishes of sultans and kings from all over the world. Today, the traveler can enter the quartz pottery workshops and see how the craftsmen make these precious pieces.

One of many examples of the famous izmik pottery

The main street that crosses the city as if it were the Roman cardus and is full of shops where to buy pottery. It is a very pleasant street to walk around. There are no cars and lots of leafy trees. Continuing straight ahead you will come to Lake Iznik.

A few years ago were discovered the remains of this basilica submerged in the interior of the lake

Lake Iznik is a nice place to rest after seeing the city. There you can have barbecues, contemplate the remains of a submerged basilica or practice water sports. This lake is famous for appearing in a passage of Homer’s Iliad. Today, it is the most important leisure center of the city.

See you next week. Görüsürüs.

Alejandro Pardo.

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