The ancient city of Hadrianopolis, estimated to have been used as a settlement area in late Hellenistic, Rome and early Byzantine times, will become an archeological site.

Located at some three kilometers east of Turkey's Black Sea province of Karabük, the site is also called “Zeugma of the Black Sea,” due to its similarity with Zeugma mosaics in southeastern province of Gaziantep.

Karabük Governorate had applied to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, requesting that Hadrianopolis Ancient City be recognized as an archeological site.

Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said he supports the plea that the ancient city to be transformed into an archeological site.

Ersin Çelikbaş -- an archeologist, also an academic at Karabuk University -- said: “If Hadrianopolis gains the status of an archeological site, it is certain that it will be one of the most significant tourist attractions in the region.”

Excavations started under the supervision of Çelikbaş in 2003 based on different archeological eras detected through current findings.

Until now, surface excavations in Hadrianopolis uncovered two baths, two church structures, one defense structure, tombs, an amphitheater, one arch and dome structure, monumental cultic niche, city walls and various edifices in 14 different parts of the entire excavation site.

Animals such as horses, elephants, panthers and a gryphon -- a mythological creature -- are depicted on the mosaics, which have brought the city its reputation.

Also, the excavations uncovered skeletons in rock tombs, ancient coins, hairpins made of bones, a unguentarium -- teardrop bottle -- and a tomb dating back to the 2nd century, as well as a 1,800-year-old votive plaque.

Portable findings of the excavations are distributed to museums in surrounding cities, while the immobile findings, such as the mosaics on the floor of the church, are preserved where they are found.

'Hadrianopolis is important for Anatolia'

Hadrianopolis is getting more famous every day and people from all corners of the world are visiting the site, Çelikbaş told Anadolu Agency.

It was apparently an important religious center based on the findings, which would render this city even more attractive, he said.

He also said: “Hadrianopolis has massive importance not only for Eskipazar but also for Anatolia. It completes the framework of Safranbolu, is a city reflecting the Ottoman era very vividly.

"Hadrianopolis also reflects the era before the Ottoman period, which makes the site very significant, revealing a historical process since the 1st century B.C." he added.

Çelikbaş said Hadrianopolis is located on one of the legs of a significant tourism route, while Safranbolu constitutes its other leg.

It is very important that Hadrianopolis is gaining archeological site status, Çelikbaş stressed, adding: “Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has given us the good news that he would support the plea for Hadrianopolis gaining archeological site status.
[...] Tourists coming to visit Safranbolu would also spend time in Hadrianopolis, which would, in turn, raise Karabuk’s tourism revenue."