Tourism in Turkey: discover the Byzantine city of Mokissos and its attractions
The central province of Aksaray, Anatolia, hosts some of the most curious attractions in the ancient world. In this post, check out some information about this exotic city from the Byzantine period:
History of Mokissos: a summary
Mokissos was the capital of the Byzantine state of Cappadocia III and a very important religious and political spot during the era of Emperor Justinian I. Furthermore, in ancient times, this city was the archiepiscopate of the vast region that covers the south of the Kızılırmak river.
However, Mokissos’ prosperity and fame did not last long. During the 8th century, the settlement was abandoned, just two centuries after its foundation. Interestingly, the reason for his abandonment has never been justified.
The ancient city of Mokissos as a tourist attraction today
The ancient city of Mokissos is located in the peripheral city of Helvadere. This small settlement is located at the foothiil of a sleeping volcano known as Mount Hasan, and has about 1,000 inhabitants. Also, the site has numerous interesting structures that once served as churches, public buildings, wells, and more.
Although not a popular tourist spot, Mokissos is extremely organized. During the journey, the visitor can find tourist information panels highlighting details about the ruins. Also, the path around the area was built with stones recovered from the ruins, which certainly contributes to the authentic Byzantine environment.
Among the main attractions of the place, are:
This place brings together structures composed of churches, residential units, and cisterns. Due to these ruins, it is considered the episcopal complex of the city of Mokissos.
Although city residents left Mokissos in the 8th century, the Domed Church has continued to serve as an active religious center for Ottoman-Greeks in recent centuries. The Orthodox Greeks who live in the city of Helvadere used this church to celebrate Easter and St. George’s Day until 1900.
Just like the vaulted church, this church is one of the best-preserved structures in the city. However, only the walls at the base of the building have survived the centuries. In the northern part of the site, there is a large semi-buried room under the ground that is worth checking out, as well as many frescoes.
Ancient dwellings of Mokissos
These are the most intact examples of masonry in Mokissos. These houses, built with large stones, prove that, compared to other ancient cities, the population density of Mokissos was very high.
A little further down from the old houses, you will see the Roman necropolis with 50 pagan tombs that have remained since the time before the reconstruction of the city by Emperor Justinian I.
Çanlı Kilise (in English: Bell church) is located between the villages of Akhisar and Çeltek, which are southwest of the center of Aksaray.
This church was known for having incredible frescoes on its walls. Unfortunately, besides some very faded paintings, there is nothing else about this handmade wall art.
At the rear of the structure, there is an underground vaulted burial room where mummies have been recovered.
Residential cave complexes
Next to the bell church, there is a residential cave complex.
Large-scale archaeological studies were conducted in the area in the 1990s. Professor Robert Ousterhout, who led the excavations, concluded that around the Bell Church, there are 25 residential units, 30 churches and stone chapels, two peripheral settlements, several small underground cities, and seven cemeteries.
How could Guide in Turkey help me get to know Mokissos?
Did you like the post about the ancient Byzantine city? We can help you get to know this attraction!
You can hire our services privately to get to know the place, where you will have the support of an English fluent guide, who will explain in detail the main points of the attraction.
In addition, when participating in our most popular packages such as “7 days in Turkey” and “11 days in Turkey”, you will have the chance to visit the Cappadocia region, which has a landscape very similar to the scenery found in Aksaray.
Likewise, we provide all the necessary services for your trip in the country, including accommodation, air tickets, transfers, interpreters, private guides, and much more.
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