HIDDEN SECRET

Ancient church that once stood in the historic city of Nicaea found submerged in a Turkish lake 1,600 years later.

The church lies ten feet below the water, about 160 feet from the shore of Lake Iznik, historically known as Nicaea.

The ruined Christian church discovered in Turkey’s Lake Iznik is believed to have been built around 390 AD.

The church lies ten feet below the water, about 160 feet from the shore of Lake Iznik, historically known as Nicaea where a Christian creed was adopted in 325 AD.

Professor Mustafa Şahin, the head of archaeology at Bursa Uludağ University, said: “When I first saw the images of the lake, I was quite surprised to see a church structure that clearly.

“I was doing field surveys in Iznik [since 2006], and I hadn’t discovered such a magnificent structure like that.”

He believes the church marks the place where Saint Neophytos was martyred in 303 AD and that it was built in his honour.

Archaeologists have excavated parts of the underwater site since 2015, using a system of powerful vacuum nozzles.

The nozzles removes soil from the underwater site and transports it to the shore, where it can be carefully sifted for artefacts.

He said the church may have been built on top of a pagan temple to Apollo, a Greek and Roman sun god sometimes associated with Jesus in the early Christian period.