Two Christian ecumenical councils were held here, the 1st in 325, and the 7th in 787.
The Hagia Sophia Church right at the city center was the scene of the 7th council.
In 1331, Orhan Gazi had it converted to a mosque. In the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the sultan’s great architect, Mimar Sinan, made some additions and modifications to improve its function as a house of worship.
Badly ruined sometime thereafter (perhaps by earthquakes), it was restored to its former shape beginning in 2007, and re-opened as a mosque in November 2011, which means you can now enter and get a good idea of the building’s earlier Byzantine form.
In 2014 the remains of a 1,600-year-old Byzantine basilica were discovered a short distance offshore in İznik Lake. Constructed in the 330s in honor of St. Neophytos, who was martyred on this spot by the Romans, the church was destroyed by an earthquake in 740 AD/CE. Preservation efforts now underway will lead to its preservation as an underwater museum.
On the outskirts of the town is a rare Byzantineunderground tomb (Yeraltı Mezar).
A Nicaea Novel
Warren Lamb‘s Nicaea Trilogy is a mystery novel with much action taking place in Nicaea: The Nicaea Trilogy: Three Novellas, Redemption Press, softcover, 264 pages, ISBN: 978-1-63232-885-1.
The best way to see İznik is on the way from Istanbul to Bursa (map). Take a fast catamaran ferry in the morning from Istanbul’s Yenikapı ferry terminal across the Sea of Marmara to Yalova, then a bus or minibus to İznik (they wait right at the ferry dock in Yalova), and after seeing the walls, mosques and churches of İznik, take a minibus to Bursa andstay overnight. More…
—by Tom Brosnahan
Distances & Travel Times
Bursa: 67 km (42 miles) SW, 1.5 hours
Söğüt: 72 km (45 miles) SE, 1.5 hours
Yalova: 60 km (37 miles) NW, 1 hour
—by Tom Brosnahan
|Istanbul – Yalova Ferryboats|