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Mithraeum of Zerzevan

A Mithraeum was discovered in 2007, during the excavations at the Zerzevan Castle.
24 Dec 2020
  • Remains of the Castle of Zerzevan.
    Yeni Şafak 

  • Entrance to the Mithraeum of Zerzevan.
    Yeni Şafak 

  • Eastern wall with niches carved into the rock
    Yeni Şafak 

  • Another view of the easter wall.
    Yeni Şafak 

  • Some of the objects found.
    Yeni Şafak 

  • Western wall with benches carved in the side.
    Yeni Şafak 

  • General view of the remains of the Castle.
    Yeni Şafak 

The Mithraeum of the Zerzevan Castle is the most important structure remaining. It was built on the north end of the walls by carving the main rock into the underground. At the entrance gate of the structure, the inscriptions and symbols are clearly visible. On the eastern wall of the structure, there are columns carved into the main rock, two large niches in the middle and two small niches on the both sides. A bull sacrifice scene is carved on the plaque in the middle big niche. Paint residues can be seen on the belt rising above the two columns around the big niche in the middle. Probably on the aforesaid belt there were symbols belonging to Mithras religion. The crown beam motif as one of the symbols of Mithras is carved on the eastern wall. There is a rather smoothly carved bull blood bowl in one of the small niches and a pool on the ground. The blood bowl and the pool are connected to each other with a channel through the wall and it is known that water was used in the Mithras religious ceremonies.

The current architectural remains and the finds unearthed during the excavations show that the area was used in the 3rd century AD. It can be said that the city walls and buildings of the settlement were restored in the periods of Anastasios I (491-518 AD) and Justinian I (527-565 AD), and some of the constructions were reconstructed and thus the present final state was obtained. The settlement must have been used until 639 which is the conquest year of the region by the Islamic armies.


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