türkçe links to original Turkish article
(HaberTürk Newspaper, 29 April 2017)
Sweeping up the crumbs of history.
An underground temple of the Mithras religion from the Roman
period has been discovered during excavations at the Zerzevan
Fortress in Diyarbakır's Çınar district. The site, located 13 kilometers
from Çınar near Demirölçek village, was a "military settlement"
during the Roman Empire period. The excavations there have been
ongoing since 2014, with the participation of the Culture and Tourism
Ministry, Diyarbakır Museum, the Governorship, the Çınar District
Chief's Office and Dicle University.
Previously, an underground church, an underground shelter for 400
people, homes and secret passages had been discovered. Now, the
team has found an underground 1,700 year-old temple of the Mithras
religion, which began to lose its importance with the emergence of
Chirstianity in the 4th century A.D.
Çınar District Chief İsmail Şanlı noted that after the Dıyarbakır Walls,
the Zerzevan Fortress is the most important historical structure in
Diyarbakır. He added that "with every passing day a new structure is
being discovered that sheds light on history. With a 60-person team
the work could go on for 25-30 years. The Zerzevan Fortress could
be the "Ephesus of the East".
The Mithras temple is the first and only one found on the eastern limit
of the Roman Empire. The Mithras religion was popular among Roman
soldiers until Christianity came along. Excavation chief Dr. Aytaç
Coşkun of Dicle University said that "the underground temple was
carved from a main rock. It is 7 meters long, 5 meters wide and 2.5
meters high, with an area of 35 square meters. 40 people could worship
inside the temple."
Çınar district is Diyarbakır's southernmost.