Ancient church discovered in underground city
An underground church containing frescoes that may date back to the 12th century has been discovered in the Cappadocia region of Turkey.
According to Nevşehir's mayor, Hasan Ünver, the frescoes depict the Ascension and the Last Judgment.
"We know that such frescoes have so far never been seen in any other church," he said, adding that preliminary studies show the church might date back to the 5th century AD.
|The rock-carved underground church is located within a castle in the centre of Nevşehir|
that spreads over an area of 360,000 square metres [Credit: AA]
Some frescoes in the church have been damaged but archaeologists believe they can be restored.
The church has only been partially excavated. So far just the ceiling has been seen and the height of the structure is not known. Archaeologist Ali Aydin told the Hurriyet Daily News that work had stopped until the Spring in order to protect the paintings from the winter humidity.
|The side walls of the church are still underground and the frescoes there may still be intact said archaeologists |
The newly-discovered church is one of many created in the region, some of them dating back to the earliest Christian centuries; the open-air museum at nearby Goreme is a popular tourist destination.
The area is also famous for producing some of the early Church's greatest theologians. The Cappadocian Fathers – Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory Nazianzen – developed the doctrine of the Trinity and are revered in the Eastern and Western Churches.
Author: Mark Woods | Source: Christian Today [January 26, 2016]