Well, I haven’t. That is, till now when I read this article in the Hurriyet Daily News about this ancient city of Germenicia in Southeast Turkey that was buried underground for 1,500 years.
Once again, we owe it to illegal excavations that started in 2007 under a house in the province of Kahramanmaraş for authorities to decide the complete excavation of the mosaics and the city in order to turn it into an open-air museum.
[picture from www.ntvmsnnbc.com]
Germenicia is contemporary of Roman era cities like Zeugma and Yamaçeviler. Until now, archeologists had not been able to locate this city although it was identified as Kahramanmaraş on old maps, simply because there were no architectural remains left. Germenicia was a very important and magnificent city which even stamped its own coins, but it remained hidden as a result of invasions and fires.
The illegal digs have now set a plan in motion to divide the region into 19 parcels of land, five of which promising to be important enough to start excavations. The mosaics have changed the future of the city that was buried till now. It has been established that two-storied Roman villas were built here around 400 AD.
Germenicia was named after the father of Roman Emperor Caligula, and is to be pinpointed at the foothills of Ahir Mountain in the neighborhood of Namik Kemal. Archaeologists believe that the city was buried by landslides as a consequence of a severe earthquake. They estimate that as many as one hundred villas with 15-20 rooms each are to be found in the region, and the newly unearthed mosaic suggests that it belongs to a floor decoration in one of these villas.
Time will tell us what other treasures have been buried in Germenicia for so many centuries.