Iznik is a city where every handful of soil has been kneaded with cultural remains for thousands of years, and has taken its place in the corners of history pages in the region for centuries. It is one of the rare settlements that served as the capital of four empires.
The development of Iznik tile-making can be clearly seen from the tile coatings on the structures with known dates. The oldest Ottoman tiles adorning the minaret of Iznik Yeşil Mosque, built between 1378-1391, continue the Seljuk tradition in terms of technique and decoration, but their colors and tones are richer than them. These tiles, which gave the mosque its name, draw attention with the variety and richness of turquoise and green colors.
We learn from historical documents that the tiles used in the buildings in Istanbul were made in Iznik. The center of ceramics known as Milet, Damascus group and Rhodes work is Iznik. 17th century The traveler Evliya Çelebi, who also came to Iznik, mentions that there are more than 300 tile kilns. In Iznik tiles; Floral motifs such as tulips, hyacinths, pomegranates and carnations are used. In addition, animal and ship motifs such as humans, birds, fish, rabbits, dogs are also encountered. Blue, turquoise, green and red are the most used colors.
In the Karadin, Cicekli, Yugucek and Cakirca Mounds near the city, BC. Traces of civilization dating back to B.C. 2500 years are hidden. 7th The settlement established here before the migration of the Thracian tribes in the 16th century was named ‘Helikare’. The name Khryseapolis (Golden City) is read on the coins minted in the city.
The city was named Antigoneia after renovated in 316 B.C. by Antigonos, general commander of Macedonian Emperor Alexander. After the death of Alexander, Lysimakhos, who won the war between Antigonos and general Lysimakhos, named the city after his wife Nikaia, the daughter of Antipatros.
The city, which was connected to the Kingdom of Bithynia in 293 B.C., was decorated with important architectural structures. Nikaia, which was the capital of the Bithynia Kingdom for a while, then continued its existence as an important settlement of Rome.
Nikaia meets Christianity with the efforts of Peter, one of the apostles of Bithynia. Emperor L. During the reign of Constantine, the prohibitions on Christianity were lifted. At the beginning of the summer of 325, Nikaia witnessed a very important event for Christianity and the First Consul met at the Senate Palace.
Two important views were discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by Emperor Constantine. The opinion of Arius, the cleric of Alexandria, That Jesus Christ was only a human being and was not born from God.” This thesis, which soon gained supporters, was opposed by the Bishops.
The thesis of “Jesus is the son of God”, which is still defended by the Christian world today, was accepted after long discussions. . The consul met. With the leadership of Empress Irene, the bans on painting and sculpture were lifted. Iznik became the capital of both the Seljuks and the Byzantines.
Iznik, which was captured by the Ottoman armies in 1331, began to revive with the Ottoman period. Under the Ottoman rule, Iznik became a center of art, trade and culture. Famous mystics such as Davud-u Kayseri, Ebul Fadıl Musa, Eşrefoğlu Abdullah Rumi lived and produced works in Iznik. The first mosque, madrasah and public soup kitchen of the Ottoman period were built in Iznik.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, Iznik became an art center in the 16th century, and world-famous tiles and ceramics were produced here. Iznik preserves its historical urban texture with all its vitality, with its grid-planned city settlement from the Hellenistic era, and its monumental structures from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods.
Iznik generally has a temperate climate. In the district, winters are generally very rainy and summers are rainy enough to not cause drought.
Berber Rock: It is at the foot of a hill to the east of Iznik. It is a tomb monument in the form of a large chamber carved from solid rock. There are graves on the ground. 2 B.C. It belongs to the 19th century and is an important example of the Hellenistic period in Iznik. This gigantic sarcophagus was built by the King of Bithynia II. It is suggested that it belongs to Prusias.
Beştaş (Obelisk): This tomb monument, rising among the vineyards in the north of the city, is on the old Roman road. It is also known as Beştaş, Nişantaşı, and Dikilitaş. It is understood from the Greek inscription on it that it belongs to C. Cassius Philiscus in the 1st century. It is thought that there is an eagle or a statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, on the sixth stone on the top of the monument. On one side of the monument, it is understood from the remaining traces that there is a statue of Philiscus. The tomb monument is 12 meters high.
Hypoge: It is a unique underground tomb in Hespekli locality of Elbeyli town. It is understood that it was built in the 4th – 5th century. Its ceiling and walls are covered with colorful frescoes typical of the early Christian period. There are three graves in the burial chamber.
Dörttepeler Tumulus: It is in the Elbeyli Municipality cemetery. Two mausoleums were identified in the tumulus. The first grave is by the roadside. Dromosiu has a rectangular burial chamber and two churches on each side. The other grave has a burial chamber made of white marble and is covered with rough stones and trees.
Other Historic Ruins
Senatus (Byzantine palace): It is certain that the palace was built in the 4th century and is still covered by the lake waters. The floor mosaics are under the ground, and the first Council of 318 priests who debated the Trinity of Christians and the divinity and humanity of Jesus was held here in 325. In 787, the 7th Council, which was convened to discuss the conflict between the Orthodox about the depictions of the Saints, was also convened here.
Walls: The five-sided polygonal walls surrounding Iznik are 4970 meters long. When viewed from the intersection of Iznik’s two main streets, four main gates are visible. The walls, which started to be built in the Hellenistic period, took their present form with new additions in the Roman and Byzantine periods. From the four main gates of the city, the Lefke Gate and the Istanbul Gate have survived intact. Yenişehir Gate is partially destroyed, Göl Kapı is completely destroyed. There are masks brought from the theater at the Istanbul Gate, it is seen that marble relief frieze fragments are also used at the Istanbul and Lefke gates.
Theatre: Iznik Antique Theater was built on a large area between the lake shore and Yenişehir Gate. The theater was built in 111-112 with the efforts of Plinius, the proconsul (governor) of Bithynia, during the reign of Emperor Trajan. The theater was converted into a mass graveyard in the 13th century. In the following years, it was revealed in the archaeological excavations that churches, palaces and Ottoman ceramic workshops and tile kilns were built.
Bocek Ayazma: It is near the Koimesis Church. It is a round structure covered with a dome. It is thought to be a part of the Hyakinthos Monastery. Ayazma is one of the works that have survived since the 6th century.
Churches and Mosques
Koimesis Church: It was built by Bishop Hyakinthos in the 8th century. It is thought to be a part of the Hyakinthos Monastery. It was destroyed in the earthquake of 1065, the remains of the Koimesis Church were only repaired with additions. The mosaics and icons of the church were renewed in 1807 at the request of the Daniel the Metropolitan of Iznik.
Hagia Sophia Mosque: It is in the middle of the city, at the intersection of two main streets. It is a Byzantine period piece and was renovated, presumably after the earthquake in the 11th century. It was named Orhan Gazi Mosque in 1331. It was damaged in earthquakes and fires. It was greatly modified and renovated by Mimar Sinan in the 16th century.
Hagios Tryphonos Church: It is on the left side of the street leading to the Istanbul Gate. Fragments of several wall and floor mosaics were found. Wall technique and plan of the church 10.-12. It shows that it is a Byzantine work built in the centuries.
Ayatrifon Church: It is on the right of the street leading to Yenişehir Gate. The plan is similar to the Kariye Mosque in Istanbul. It is understood that it was covered with a large dome according to its plan and its floor was covered with highly ornamented mosaics. It is thought that the church was built by Teodoros Laskaris in the 13th century in the name of Aya Trifon.
Hacı Özbek Mosque: It is the first Ottoman mosque built in Iznik. It is covered with a tile-covered dome with a diameter of 8 meters. It was built in 1333.
Green Mosque: The Green Mosque, the symbol of Iznik, took its name from its green tiled and bricked minaret. Çandarlı Hayreddin Pasha started the construction of the mosque in 1378, but upon his death, his son Ali Pasha had it completed in 1391. It is one of the most magnificent of the single-domed mosques of the early Ottoman period. Its unique minaret is in the right corner of the mosque. Its body is decorated with blue and green tiles in a zigzag mosaic technique. It is an important example of the reflection of the Seljuk minaret tradition on the early Ottoman art.
Mahmut Çelebi Mosque: It was built in 1442 by Mahmut Çelebi, one of the grandsons of Çandarlı Hayreddin Pasha.
Orhan Bey Mosque and Bath: The mosque is in ruins among the fields on the left side outside the Yenişehir Gate. The bath is located between the mosque and the walls.
Sheikh Kutbettin Glass and Tomb, Eşrefoglu Rumi Cami and Tomb, Yakub Çelebi Zaviye and Tomb, Kyrgyz Tomb, Sari Saltuk Tomb, Candarli Hayrettin Pasha Tomb, Candarli İbrahim Pasha Tomb and Imaret, Candarli Halil Pasha Tomb, Huysuzlar Türbesi, Abdülvahap Bannerman Tomb are important tombs of Iznik.
Inn and Baths
Rüstem Pasha Inn: Today, it is in the form of wall remains between the houses. Only a part of the north and west walls are still standing. Building 16th century. It is believed that it was built by Mimar Sinan on behalf of Rüstem Pasha, the grand vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent.
İsmail Bey Bath: It belongs to the beginning of the 14th century and 15th century. It is an outstanding building with its interior architecture.
Haci Hamza Bath: It is next to the Mahmut Çelebi Mosque, it is also known as the second Murat bath. XV. century was built.
Meydan Bath: It is also known as the 1st Murat Bath. It was built in the form of a double bath. The bath is dated to the end of the 14th century.