Nicaea - Ruins

Ruins

The ancient walls, with their towers and gates, are relatively well preserved. Their circumference is 3,100 m (10,171 ft), being at the base from 5 to 7 m (16 to 23 ft) in thickness, and from 10 to 13 m (33 to 43 ft) in height; they contain four large and two small gates. In most places they are formed of alternate courses of Roman tiles and large square stones, joined by a cement of great thickness. In some places columns and other architectural fragments from the ruins of more ancient edifices have been inserted. As with those of Constantinople, the walls seem to have been built in the 4th century. Some of the towers have Greek inscriptions.

The ruins of mosques, baths, and houses, dispersed among the gardens and apartment buildings that now occupy a great part of the space within the Roman and Byzantine fortifications, show that the Ottoman era town center, though now less considerable, was once a place of importance; but it never was as large as the Byzantine city. It seems to have been almost entirely constructed of the remains of the Byzantine era Nicaea, the walls of the ruined mosques and baths being full of the fragments of ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine temples and churches. In the northwestern parts of the town, two moles extend into the lake and form a harbour; but the lake in this part has much retreated, and left a marshy plain. Outside the walls are the remnants of an ancient aqueduct.

The Church of the Dormition, the principal Greek Orthodox church in Nicaea, was one of the most architecturaly important Byzantine churches in Asia Minor. A domed church with a cross-shaped nave and elongated apse, and dating from the perhaps as early as the end of the 6th century, its bema was decorated with very fine mosaics that had been restored in the 9th century. The Church of the Dormition was destroyed in 1922; only the lower portions of some of its walls survive today.

Excavations are underway in the Ottoman kilns where the historic Nycean tileware were made. The Hagia Sophia is also undergoing restoration.

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