During the restoration of the historic Sheikh Suleyman mosque in Fatih, Istanbul, the first pagan graveyard to protect its originality was unearthed. Paganism continued in Istanbul until Christianity became widespread, ie, until the 7th century, and ended in the end.
Byzantine amphoras were also found during the restoration to relieve the building of the roof of the mosque.
The "pagan graveyard" was found in the basement of the historic Sheikh Suleyman Masjid in the Zeyrek neighborhood of Fatih, where the General Directorate of Foundations and Italian experts carried out restoration. The Byzantine amphorae were also taken under protection to alleviate the construction of the cemetery and the mosque which had been damaged due to various reasons.
The restoration started on September 25, 2013 under the project 'MED ART1', completed on November 7, 2016. Archaeogeophysics, seismological tests and scans were carried out while archeological excavations were carried out in the courtyard of the mosque. The walls of the graveyard, which had been damaged due to the 19th century earthquakes and fires, were left uncovered after the conservation work of the Ottoman period.
According to the report of Nihat Uludağ from Habertürk, archaeologist Murat Sav said that the mosque was originally built in Late Roman period as a tomb structure. Sav stated that the upper part of the structure with a square plan was octagonal. Sav stated that the traces of Istanbul's first pagan tomb were reached in the basement of the mosque,
"There are two more times in the basement of the building built on the masjid, dating from the Roman period. The first floor underneath is a multiple tomb structure with eight sections. Terminology is called arcosolium. Arcosoliums, grave structure of pagan belief. It is very important to be in Istanbul. In one of the chapters, there was a part of the sunflower which was made for the blood of the sacrifice. It was looted in the Byzantine period. "
Archaeologist Murat Sav, who expressed the presence of amphoras from the Byzantine period during the work in 1955 on the masjid dome, said: "These amphoras were left untouched on the roof. Then archaeological excavations were carried out in order to prevent any damage to the amphora during the studies. We arrived at the amphorae we anticipated. The amphoras turn around the dome 360 degrees. The amphoras over there are 11-12. We have dated around centuries. We made a decision. Removing and repairing the amphoras was not going to take place anywhere because it would lead to a wound. We protected the amphoras with what we found. "
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Pag said that the graveyard and the Sheikh Suleyman Mosque were affected by earthquakes and fires, Sav said, "During the 18th and 19th centuries during the Ottoman period there were many incredible fires. This is a district known as Gırçır. There are many fires here. Even in the early 20th century there is a wide range of fires in this region. He was also influenced by the fires. In the earthquakes of 1754 and 1766, Şeyh Süleyman Mescidi is also affected a bit. He's on fire too. It is being repaired after that. "
A rare structure
Sav, telling the various interventions of the Byzantine period in the tomb structure, said, "Especially in feet and feet. As the preservation in Istanbul, we can say that it is very uniquely structured, reaching daily in the sidewalk section. We also date this work to the 4th or 5th century of the similar period. The structure under the Balabanağa Masjid was also a multi-grave structure. Unfortunately, it has been lost in the past. There are a few other examples but there is no such production in Istanbul. With both the plan and the preservation feature, "he spoke.