Museums Heritage Turkey

Turkey plans to make a splash with new museum

Country’s ministry of culture approves project to make underwater Byzantine basilica a tourist attraction

An early Byzantine-era basilica discovered last year in a lake in the Bursa province

The Turkish ministry of culture has approved plans to create an underwater museum out of the ruins of an early Byzantine-era basilica discovered last year in a lake in the Bursa province, reports Hurriyet Daily.

Researchers are currently surveying the site and carrying out preparatory works to transform it into a museum. They are also looking for nearby archaeological sites. The project is being led by the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality.

The church, which is approximately 20 metres from the shore of Lake Iznik, was spotted in January 2014 during an aerial photo shoot of the region. The basilica was dedicated to St Neophytos, who was murdered by the Romans in AD303; archaeologists believe the church may have been built as early as ten years after the saint’s death. It likely collapsed during an earthquake that rocked the region in AD740.

Meanwhile in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has resumed plans to build a $140m underwater museum in Alexandria.

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