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The Green Mosque. Iznik, Turkey.
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The Green Mosque. Iznik, Turkey.

The Hagia Sophia. Iznik, Turkey.
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The Hagia Sophia. Iznik, Turkey.

Town in northwestern Turkey with 20,000 inhabitants (2004 estimate) on the eastern shore of Lake Iznik.
Today Iznik is a small market town and administrative centre for the surrounding district.
Iznik has good connections with other urban centres by road. Bursa is 85 km southwest, Izmit is 90 km north and Eskisehir 150 km southeast.
Iznik is dominated by the ancient Roman and Byzantine ramparts, almost 4.5 km in circumference. There are several interesting buildings, like Haci Özbek mosque the oldest known Ottoman mosque, dating back to 1333. The Yesil mosque, or Green Mosque, is built just a few decades later.

316 BCE: Founded by the Macedonian king Antigonus 1, and named Nicaea.
3rd century: Nicaea becomes one of the chief cities of Bithynia.
74: Bithynia gives itself up to Rome, and Nicea is incorporated into the empire.
1st millennium CE: Is an important Roman and later Byzantine town.
325 CE: Nicaea hosts an Christian ecumenical council, where the Arian orientation is condemned, and acreeing upon the divine nature of Jesus.
787: A new council declares that icons are allowed in the church as long as they are only revered, not worshipped.
1081: Seljuqs conquer Nicaea.
1097: The Seljuqs are driven out by Crusaders aided by Byzantine forces.
Early 13th century: Following conflicts over Constantinople, the Byzantine heir forms the Nicaean Empire, which would last for more than 50 years.
1331: Conquered by the Ottomans, and included in their kingdom. They renamed the city Iznik, and it gets much attention from its new rulers, and sees subtantial growth.
1453: Constantinople is conquered by the Ottomans. This took away Iznik's regional importance, and stopped its growth.
Early 16th century: Faience pottery making is introduced in Iznik following forced migration of Persian craftsmen. The town would become famous for its excellent tiles.
Around 1700: The tile makers are moved to Constantinople, bringing Iznik to its final decline.
1920- 1922: During the Turkish War of Independence, Iznik is heavily destroyed.
Early 20th century: Iznik's economy suffers hard from being bypassed by the new railway (it goes 30 km east of town).

By Tore Kjeilen