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Anavarza and Anavarza Castle 08032008 2761.jpg

Anavarza and Anavarza Castle 08032008 2761.jpg

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The site of the lower city of Anazarbus, at the foot of a vertical rock wall (on which the fortified Armenian city and the Byzantine-Armenian fortress lay). In spite of a long and flourishing past, no real excavations were held here; so, only a few scattered buildings and structures are still standing, making one wonder what is to be found under the surface. In August 2012 new excavations by the Adana Archeology Museum and Mersin University's department of archeology were announced.

The original native settlement was re-founded by the Romans in 19 BC, following a visit by Augustus, and named Caesarea ad Anazarbus. It rivaled Tarsus, the Cilician capital, in the 3rd century AD, and under Diocletian became the seat of the separate Roman province of Cilicia Secunda. Anazarbus was an archbishopric under the Byzantine Empire. After its devastation by earthquakes in the 6th century, it was rebuilt, first as Justinopolis, later as Justinianopolis.
Under Muslim occupation (795-962) it was renamed ʿAyn Zarbah’ and retained its strategic importance. It was regained for Byzantium by Nicephorus Phocas about 962 and was subsequently devastated during the Crusades (1098). After becoming an Armenian capital, the city walls were rebuilt, and the town regained some importance, until its destruction by the Mamluks in 1375.

Correspondent: J.M.Criel, Antwerpen.
Sources: ‘Guides Bleus: Turquie’ – Edition 1986 , ‘Guide Fodor: Turquie’ - Edition 1988 , Wikipedia
& Personal Visits (1985-1999).

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