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Boğsak Island

The settlement, that started to develop in the fourth century CE, covered the entire surface of the island. The only inscription from the island probably includes the name of the settlement: "May you prosper, Asteria, that is built as a city!"


Boğsak Island

One may imagine a vibrant island with restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, and churches. The houses situated on the northern slopes overlooking the port at Holmoi (Taşucu), the Calycadnus (Göksu) River’s delta, and the  sea that billowed with the movement of dolphins, sea turtles, seals, shoal of fish and the fishermen chasing them. Although the island was densely settled, the buildings agglomerated in the areas with terrain suitable for construction or with easily access to the shoreline.

*Varinlioğlu, Günder. "Boğsak'tan Dana'ya Uzanan Bir Ada Öyküsü Boğsak Arkeolojik Yüzey Araştırması". Aktüel Arkeoloji 67 (2019): 8-13.

A Christian community inhabited Asteria. They built seven churches on the island in the fifth and sixth centuries. Right below the summit of the island, was a church complex accessed via a stone paved monumental avenue. The small chapel distinguished by its stone--built dome, marble floor pavement, and maybe also its shiny, colorful mosaics and wall paintings, was a marytrium: it housed the relics of a Christian martyr or it was built on a sacred place. In fact, Boğsak Island was part of wide religious network. The site where St. Thecla, the companion of St. Paul, reached martyrdom after disappearing into a rock, was located in the suburbs of Seleucia ad Calycadnum, on a hill (modern-day Ayatekla) overlooking the Mediterranean. The martyrium of St. Thecla was a pilgrimage site visited by the faithful across the Christian world. Boğsak Island must have been one of the stopping points on pilgrimage itineraries.


Settlement and churches on Boğsak Island (Mapping: BOGA Team 2010-2021, drawing: Nihan Arslan 2021)

*Varinlioğlu, Günder. "Boğsak'tan Dana'ya Uzanan Bir Ada Öyküsü Boğsak Arkeolojik Yüzey Araştırması". Aktüel Arkeoloji 67 (2019): 8-13.

**Varinlioğlu, G. and M. Esmer, “Houses on an Island: Boğsak (Asteria) in Isauria in Late Antiquity,” in Archaeology of Anatolia: Recent Discoveries, vol. 2, edited by S.R. Steadman and G. McMahon, 247-66. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.


Stairs used to land on the island

The interior of Church V/Church I (you may use VR glasses)

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