FOUND: A 5th-Century Underground Church in Turkey - Atlas Obscura
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FOUND: A 5th-Century Underground Church in Turkey

Newly discovered frescos (Photo: Nevsehir Castle Urban Transformation Project)

In Turkey’s Cappadocia region, where whole cities are riddled into hillsides, archaeologists recently uncovered a church from the 5th century in the the city of Nevşehir. It is one of the largest historical churches in the region, full of incredible early frescos. Last year, a lost underground city was unearthed in a public housing project in the same city.

The frescos in the cave church show the ascension of Jesus, the destruction of evil souls, and fish falling from Jesus’ hands. They also show other saints and earlier Biblical prophets, including Moses. 

When the church was first found, its walls had collapsed, but the archaeological team is now working to restore them and to save the frescos. 

Christianity had spread to Turkey by early in the 4th century C.E., and a church like this one could give archaeologists clues about the practice of early Christianity in the region and the development of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Bonus finds: Mollusks with fluorescent decorationsstrange dinosaur/wildebeestbats in Banff

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.