Turkey: 13th Century Chapel, Mud Flood and Renamed Cities

If these musical chairs with various city names in Turkey are of any indication, we will never be able figure out what was where, and when. At first, I came across a 13th century buried chapel, which was recently excavated in Turkey. While trying to establish what older city its location could be attributed to, it became obvious, that TPTB had their way with city/town names. Same names jump all over the place. Eventually, we ended up with what we have today, but what we have does not necessarily match with what we used to have.
  • City/Town Name was moved to a different location
  • City/Town was renamed
  • City/Town was renamed and moved to a different location
But first things first... In 2009 archaeologists used a ground-penetrating radar to detect some underground anomalies. The shape and size of those anomalies suggested that those were walls and buildings.

Buried Chapel
Archaeologists first detected the ancient city in 2009 using ground-penetrating radar that revealed anomalies whose shape and size suggested walls and buildings. Over the next two years they excavated a small, stunning 13th-century chapel sealed in an uncanny state of preservation. Carved out of one wall is a cross that, when sunlit, beams its shape onto the altar. Inside is a vibrant fresco that is highly unusual for Turkey.

myra_chapel_primary-1.jpeg

The chapel’s structural integrity suggests that Myra may be largely intact underground. “This means we can find the original city, like Pompeii,” said Nevzat Cevik, an archaeologist at Akdeniz University who is director of the excavations at Myra, beneath the modern town of Demre.

myra_chapel_primary-3.jpg

But Myra attracted invaders, too. Arabs attacked in the 7th and 9th centuries. In the 11th, Seljuk Turks seized the city, and the bones thought to be those of Nicholas were stolen away to Bari, in southern Italy, by merchants who claimed to have been sent by the pope.
  • By the 13th century, Myra was largely abandoned. Yet someone built the small chapel using stones recycled from buildings and tombs.
  • Decades later, several seasons of heavy rain appear to have sealed Myra's fate. The chapel provides evidence of Myra's swift entombment. If the sediment had built up gradually, the upper portions should show more damage; instead, except for the roof's dome, at the surface, its preservation is consistent from bottom to top.
myra-chapel-3.jpg

Sources:


KD: This article was sitting in this semi-started condition for about a week already. I guess I'm just lazy to do all the map related stuff. Here is in a nutshell on this city of Myra:
  • Myra was an ancient Greek, then Roman Greek, then Byzantine Greek, then Ottoman Greek town in Lycia, which became the small Turkish town of Kale, renamed Demre in 2005, in the present-day Antalya Province of Turkey.
    • The ancient Greek citizens worshipped Artemis Eleutheria, who was the protective goddess of the town.
    • In 1923 its Greek inhabitants had been required to leave by the Population exchange between Greece and Turkey, at which time its church (KD: institution?) was finally abandoned.
    • It was founded on the river Myros in the fertile alluvial plain between Alaca Dağ, the Massikytos range and the Aegean Sea.
  • Demre is a town and its surrounding district in the Antalya Province on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, named after the river Demre.
    • Demre is the Lycian town of Myra, the home of Saint Nicholas of Myra, the historical man later developed into the figure of Santa Claus.
    • The district was known as Kale until it was renamed in 2005.
    • A substantial Christian community of Greeks lived in Demre (Myra) until the 1920s when they migrated to Greece as part of the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey agreement.
    • The abandoned Greek villages in the region are a striking reminder of this exodus.
    • Abandoned Greek houses can still be seen at Demre and the regions of Kalkan, Kaş and Kaya which is a Greek ghost town.
    • A small population of Turkish farmers moved into the region when the Greeks migrated to Greece.
As you can see, its pretty confusing, but luckily we have some KISS info:
  • By the 13th century, Myra was largely abandoned. Yet someone built the small chapel using stones recycled from buildings and tombs.
  • Decades later, several seasons of heavy rain appear to have sealed Myra's fate. The chapel provides evidence of Myra's swift entombment. If the sediment had built up gradually, the upper portions should show more damage; instead, except for the roof's dome, at the surface, its preservation is consistent from bottom to top.
Maps
1665

1665_Myra.jpg

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1686
1686_Myra.jpg

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1822
1822_Myra.jpg

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1707 Ruins
1707_Myra.jpg

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Here are most of the maps of Turkey. It appears that we have a contradiction between texts and maps. I do not see this Myra mentioned on any maps prior to about 1650s. I also see that Myra/Myrra jumps from place to place,and somehow in 1707 ends up in Ruins. These dates are still a far cry from the 12th century when it was supposed to get buried by all the official mud.

At the same time our Myra appears to be present in the Bible:
  • Myra, a city of the ancient country of Lycia about 2 1/2 miles from the coast. Here, according to Acts 27:6, Paul found a grain ship from Alexandria. The city stood upon a hill formed by the openings of two valleys.
  • At an early period Myra was of less importance than was the neighboring city Patara, yet later it became a prominent port for ships from Egypt and Cyprus, and Theodosius II made it the capital of the province.
  • It was also famed as the seat of worship of an Asiatic deity whose name is no longer known.
  • Nicholas, a bishop and the patron saint of sailors, is said to have been buried in a church on the road between Myra and Andraki, the port.
  • Here an Arab fleet was destroyed in 807.
  • In 808 Haroun al-Rashid, the renowned kalif of Bagdad, took the city, and here Saewulf landed on his return from Jerusalem.
  • Dembre is the modern name of the ruins of Myra, which are among the most imposing in that part of Asia Minor.
  • The elaborate details of the decoration of theater are unusually well preserved, and the rock-hewn tombs about the city bear many bas-reliefs and inscriptions of interest.
  • On the road to Andraki the monastery of Nicholas may still be seen.
Funny, that the city of Patara is present on the maps prior to 1650s, and then Myra pops up. Kind of like the Bible says, but much much later.

1750 - BBL
old_myra.jpg

Source
Eventually everything comes down to some real probability of the Church of Myra actually being the same old factory of Artemis.
  • The town (Myra) had a market place, temples, a town hall, a gymnasium, and a bathhouse that was built by the Romans in the third century CE. The temple of Artemis Eleuthera was called the most splendid building of Lycia. And of course, it had a well-known harbor.
  • Myra was destroyed in 141 CE, but rebuilt by a rich man named Opramoas of Rhodiapolis, who is known to have paid for the restoration of the gymnasium and the shrine of Artemis.
  • In Antiquity, however, the town was especially famous for its temple of Artemis, which was shown on the urban coins.
  • According to a medieval legend, bishop Nicholas of Myra destroyed the temple of Artemis in Ephesus; the truth may be that he managed to get the temple of the goddess in his own town closed.
  • KD: In my opinion all these events took place much later. Meaning around 1650s +/-.
1702
old_Myra-3.jpg

Source
And for those interested in the musical chair cities, you might want to investigate how far TPTB moved Didyma. Every honest historian should be ashamed with the Didyma thing alone.
 

Banta

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I just posted in a thread about Napoleon (and the documentation that he was referred to as Nicholas) information that is related to this thread:


I think taken in totality it lends credence to KD’s assertion that various events (and the associated historical figures) may have taken place much closer to the 17th century than traditionally thought.
 
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