Ayazma unearthed in church in Kadıkalesi, Türkiye

Ayazma unearthed in church in Kadikalesi, Turkey.
Photo: AA
In the historical Kadıkalesi in Aydın, a holy water section from the 5th century, which is believed to heal in the Christian faith, was found.

In the historical Kadıkalesi in Aydın’s Kuşadası district, a “holy water” section from the 5th century, which is believed to heal in the Christian faith, was found.

Kadıkalesi draws attention with its mosque and church structure side by side. Known as a coastal settlement, the excavations in Kadıkalesi, whose name in Antiquity was “Anaia”, are carried out under the direction of Aydın Archaeology Museum.

During the excavations in Kadıkalesi, which dates back 5 thousand years; Prehistoric terracotta pots, spindle whorls, stone axes, sculptures from the Hittite period, glazed ceramics from the 12th and 13th centuries AD, jewelry, lead seal prints and 8 centuries-old tile fragments with animal footprints from that period were found.

In addition to these, during the ongoing excavations in the church in Kadıkalesi, a sacred water section dating from the 5th century was unearthed, apart from the grave of a woman between the ages of 34-38. Head of the excavation Prof. Dr. Zeynep Mercangöz told AA that research on the structure unearthed in the church continues.

She said that the holy water section they found has distinctive features and that ayazas are usually found in churches. “Usually in Christian temples, such holy water sources are needed for healing or rituals, but this structure has very different characteristics.”

“This is a sacred water source. The water channels winding through the structure show that water was not only supplied from a fountain or a well. We do not know of a similar example for now. Therefore, in this sense, it is perhaps the first in Türkiye. And it will provide much different information in the future.”

There are many ayazmas in Anatolia from the Middle Ages to the present day. Even today there are still some in Greek churches in Istanbul.

The water spring in Kadıkalesi is distinguished by its architectural structure. Zeynep Mercangöz said, “For Christians, these holy water springs or wells offer healing. However, the ayazma under the monumental church in Kadıkalesi is a very important structure with its architecture from the 5th century, of which we do not know any other examples for now. It must be related to a worship in early Christianity that is unknown today. Research is still ongoing for this detail.”

Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Umut Tuncer said Kadıkalesi is a place that contains various secrets dating back to the Hellenistic period to the Republican period. “This is an important structure for Kuşadası, we are working rapidly to bring it to tourism. We have covered the structure. We have also started our project work.”

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