When we learn about discoveries of ancient civilizations, we would normally think that they were found in some remote place far from large towns, perhaps some forest or an open field, we would not imagine it in the middle of a huge city.
Excavations have been underway at Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa Railway Station since 2018 and many artifacts and historical relics from the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods have been unearthed from it. But recently a discovery so spectacular was made that it overshadows everything else.
A group of archaeologists continued with the excavations when they noticed a strange structure that emerged from the earth that they had just removed, curiosity led them to continue digging now more carefully than before until they were able to reveal what was hidden underground was an apse dating back 2400 years.
An apse is a semicircular or polygonal termination to the choir, chancel, or aisle of a building very commonly used in early Christian architecture.
Obviously – given the date – this structure does not correspond to any form of Christian belief, but it is presumed that it was part of a monument or mausoleum within the ancient maritime city of Chalcedon known according to local mythology as Land of the blind.
“This area is the northwestern port of the ancient city of Khalkedon, a large structure that could be a warehouse. On the other side of the road, we see a group of buildings that could be a small summer palace,” said excavation leader Mehmet Ali Polat.
Experts have managed to identify that the site was active for a short time after its construction and then was abandoned, until it was used again centuries later, in the Byzantine period.
Scientists hope that these excavations will continue to provide important information about the enigmatic culture of Chalcedon and what life was like in that important ancient metropolis that was once one of the most important commercial centers in the world.