During archaeological excavations in Turkey’s Mardin province, the remains of an ancient city were accidentally found, full of artefacts, silos, places of worship, passageways and wells. That writes the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.
The spectacular discoveries were made during a project going on for two years now, restoring ancient houses and streets near the town of Midyat, in the south-east of the country. The special discovery started with the discovery of a cave, to which several corridors were connected.
They were also dug out, after which, to the surprise of the archaeologists, little by little, an entire underground city full of artefacts was discovered. Most of the found objects date from the second and third centuries AD. There are often ancient excavations in Turkey from the first centuries AD, but these excavations are different and unique because of their shape and size.
The scientists call the city ” Matiate “, the old name for Midyat from the former Assyrian Empire. According to Gani Tarkan, director of the Mardin Museum and leader of the excavations, the city was used continuously for 1,900 years.
Tarkan assumes that Matiate probably served as a refuge for Christians because Christianity was not yet an officially recognized religion at the time, and the ruling Romans persecuted Christians. As a result, Christian families and groups often sought shelter in underground cities at that time. A total of 60,000 to 70,000 people would have lived under the earth.