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  • Justin Leonard

Where's the church?

The winter rains finally cleared and the sun was out.  Time for an adventure.   This time I traveled to the opposite side of Ordu to the city of Ünye.  The city is a great destination for a day trip, and the tourism office has set up a nice little walking tour where you can experience and see some of the historical and culture heritage of the area.  But today, I was looking for the church on an island.   I’ve seen it in some old photos of the city, so I figured I could find it.


Old Aya Nikola Church

The name of the church is Aya Nikola Church, and it is believed to have been built in the 1700’s.  Until 1923, the Black Sea coast had large populations of Greek and Armenians living alongside of Turks.  The little church on the island was used as a chapel and a marker for local fisherman.


When I arrived, I found the site to be completely different than the photographs I had found.  Other than a footprint of a building and tiny section of wall, the church was completely torn down.   Basically, I walked out to the island and took a few pictures.  I was disappointed to find the historical site was nearly wiped from history.


Another interesting fact.  After the “Christian” populations left the region most of homes, churches, and tombs were looted….especially, the churches.   The builders of these old churches would often times bury money under or around the church to help rebuild if there was either a fire or earthquake.  When the churches were abandoned, the remaining residents torn down everything in search of treasure.  Sometimes finding something.  Such is the fate of the Aya Nikola Church.  I wonder if anything was found.  If so, I doubt it was worth the destruction of history.


A couple of years ago, more digging and exploration was done on the site in the name of archeology.  There was a promise that in 2018 it would be rebuilt/renovated as a tourist destination.  Well, it’s 2018 so I guess they didn’t find anything.


Is it worth visiting the area?  Don’t make a special trip, but there are some nice beaches in the area.

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