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IZNIK (NICAEA)

Coordinate: 40º25’44.34’’K 29º42’59.45’’D Height: 97 m

Iznik as one of the towns of Bursa is 85 km away from Bursa at northeast corner of the city. It was settled in the coast of Lake Iznik which is at the west of the town. Antigoneia which was founded by Antigonos, one of the commanders of Macedonian King Alexander the Great, in 316 B.C. then named "Nicaea, wife of Lysimakhos who took over the city in 310 B.C. It stayed under the sovereignty of Bithynia from 3rd century B.C. to the middle of the 1st century A.D. After being seized and reestablished by Romans, the city lived under the sovereignty of different countries. First (325 A.D.) and seventh (787 A.D.) ecumenical councils which were important for Christianity in religious meaning, were gathered in Nicaea.

Theodoros Laskaris founded Nicaea Empire in here as a continuation of Byzantine in Istanbul after escaping to Anatolia with other managers because of Latin invasion in Istanbul in 1204. It was the capital of Byzantine and an important center until withdrawing Istanbul in 1261.

Nicaea which was annexed to Ottoman by Orhan Bey in 1331 also became the center of Ottomans. World famous Iznik tiles and ceramics were produced in here during 15th and 17th centuries. It lost its importance after the closure of tile shops at the end of the 17th century and losing of being the center of accommodation because of railway construction.

City walls from Roman period and Istanbul, Yenişehir and Lefke doors over these walls are in good condition in Nicaea.

 

A Roman theater from the 2nd century in the southwest of the city, and a necropolis outside of Istanbul door were found. Hagia Sophia Church in the middle of the city is able to survive with its body walls as a 4th century basilica. Ruins of Senatus Palace which was in the Coast of Iznik Lake, hosted the First Ecumenical Council submerged by the lake water.

 

Must-see places: Hagia Sophia Museum, Iznik Green Mosque, the Iznik Museum, Iznik walls, Lake Iznik.

Do Not Return Without Doing:

Shopping: Purchasing Iznik Tiles