Ankara (Turkey), August 13 (ANI): Archaeologists have uncovered a centuries-old Jewish temple in Antalya, Turkey, which may date back to the 3rd century AD.
According to a report in Today's Zaman, ongoing excavations at the ancient port city of Andriake in Lycia - located in Antalya's Demre district - uncovered the centuries-old Jewish temple.
Site chief Dr. Nevzat Cevik, an archaeology professor at Akdeniz University, told the Anatolia news agency that his team believes the temple is from around the third century.
"Located on a choice spot facing the sea, the temple was likely built following a law instituted in 212 that allowed Jews the right to become Roman citizens," Cevik said.
The find is important, as it is the first archaeological trace of Jewish culture found in Lycia.
"For the archaeological world, the world of science and particularly for Lycian archaeology and history, we're facing an important find here. It's the first remnant of Lycian Jewish culture we've found," Cevik said, describing the find.
"When we first discovered the temple, we weren't sure what it was, but after continuing to dig, the archaeological findings and particularly the first-quality marble slabs that we found were evidence for us that they were part of a Jewish temple," he added.
"To encounter remnants of Jewish culture for the first time has caused great excitement. We're adding another layer to what we know of Lycian culture - now that we know that there was a Jewish presence in Lycia as well, we can follow this path and better understand other finds," he explained.
As part of the temple find, the team located a menorah and pieces inscribed with traditional Jewish symbols and figures.
Cevik also noted the importance that the find would eventually have for tourism in the region. (ANI)