History Of Izmit

Izmit is situated  in the north part of the Marmara Region and it is a living proof of the civilizations who lived BC there. At the beginning it was called Bithynia and changed from Olibya, Astakoz Nicomedia, Iznikmid, Izmit to Kocaeli. It is a natural bridge on the roads connecting Asia to Europe and in the same time an important cultural, economic and geo political one too. Izmit that we know today was called Astakoz by the magarali immigrants who settled in Başiskele area (situated in the south of Izmit) in 712 BC. The city dominated the area until the year 300 BC. In 262 BC, Astakoz’s people settled down and due to Bithynia’s king’s name – Nicomedes- the name of the city changed to Nicomedia.

































The city, having an important cultural, trade and geopolitical role, on the natural transit routes in Europe and Asia; was founded in 712 BC, by immigrants from Megara which settled in the east of Izmit (today), around Başiskele, and it was called Astakoz. The city, dominated the region until 300 BC,  lived between 500-435 as an independent city and minted coins in its name. In 262 BC, Astakoz people  settled in the region (which was founded in the area that Izmit existed), and the city was named Nicomedia, because of Nikomedes, the king of Bithynia. Diokletianus (284-305) declared Nicomedia as the capital city of the eastern region, at the time, when there were some management regulations in Roman Emperor by the end of III. Century. During this period, the city which was demolished by Goths, was renewed. The city was slided to the east, and the walls of the city were renewed in the form to cover the new area. During this period, in Nicomedia, the hippodrome, palace, temple, baths, public buildings, mints, and  the shipyard was built. Emperor Galerius, issued the first edict of tolerance known in the world, on the 30th of April, in the year 311, in Nicomedia ( Izmit )( It was called with this name at that time. ) Another feature of this tolerance enactment is that; it inspired another 2. edict which was expanded to include all religions in Milan in 313. With this enactment in Izmit, the phenomenon of tolerance was founded in the world. During this period, Nicomedia, became the 4th largest city following Rome, Antioch (Antakya), Aleksanderia (Alexandria) . In the city, there was a Temple of Demeter, on the side of it, there were temples of the emperor with eight columns. There was also an altar and a statue of Demeter in the area. In addition, the area was connected to the harbor with a columned street. Except for ruins of the city walls, aqueducts, a monumental fountain, and a water cistern; the Roman works do not survive. In 395 AD, the Roman Empire, was divided into two, and Kocaeli, like Anatolia,  fell to the share of the Byzantine Empire.
























Izmit, in 1087, passed into the hands of the Anatolian Seljuks and was annexed the Anatolian Seljuk State,  established by Kutalmışoğlu Süleymanşah. In 1097, first of all İzmit, and then Iznik passed into the hands of the Crusaders. Between the years 1204-1207, Izmit experienced the Latin occupation period . Until the year 1261,  Izmit changed hands several times between the Turks, the Latins and the Byzantines. Izmit, in 1337, was precisely captured by the Ottomans. KaraMürsel Bey established a navy to protect the coasts that were captured. With the Turkish armies’s approaching to Istanbul by capturing the castles in Kocaeli peninsula, Byzantine advanced on Orhan Gazi in 1329. The Byzantines were defeated in the war between the Eskihisar and Darica. Iznik, having no hope for war relief, surrendered itself to Turks. Orhan Gazi lifted the siege immediately with the Byzantine’s bat for the city. Izmit was besieged in 1331. Meanwhile, a large part of forts near Orhan Gazi surrendered themselves.Izmit again besieged and captured in 1337. Previously, Izmit was a flag which was bound to the Anatolian province. In the time of Yavuz Sultan Selim, Hersekzade Ahmed Pasha in Karamürsel and Deftardar Abdusselam Efendi brought shipyards in Izmit  to good working order by restoring them.

Later, Izmit shipyard saw the repair a few times more. In the time of Abdülhamid II, the first governor of the independent flag of Izmit was Selim Sirri Pasha. The independent districts of Izmit  was Yalova, Adapazarı, Kandira and Geyve. In following years, Iznik was bound to the flag of Izmit.

























After World War I, in accordance with the Mondros Armistice, British landed their troops in Izmit, on July 6th, 1920, on the excuse that our warship Yavuz was retained in the gulf of Izmit. The government house became the headquarters of the occupation forces. On June 28th, 1921, Izmit rescued from the Greek occupation.



İllustration by Historian, Author Onur Şahna

The Myths Of Nicomedia


Saint Barbara


Saint Barbara, (Greek: Αγία Βαρβάρα, Spanish: Santa Barbara), Feast Day December 4, known in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the Great Martyr Barbara, was an early Christian saint and martyr. Accounts place her in the 3rd century in Nicodemia, present-site Turkey. There is no reference to her in the authentic early Christian writings, nor in the original recension of Saint Jerome's martyrology. Her name can be traced to the 7th century, and veneration of her was common, especially in the East, from the 9th century.Because of doubts about the historicity of her legend, she was removed from the liturgical calendar of the Roman rite in 1969 in Pope Paul VI's motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis.


Saint Barbara is often portrayed with miniature chains and a tower. As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Barbara continues to be a popular saint in modern times, perhaps best known as the patron saint of artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her old legend's association with lightning, and also of mathematicians. Many of the thirteen miracles in a 15th-century French version of her story turn on the security she offered that her devotees would not die without making confession and receiving extreme unction.





Saint Pantaleon


According to the martyrologies, Pantaleon was the son of a rich pagan, Eustorgius of Nicomedia, and had been instructed in Christianity by his Christian mother, Saint Eubula; however, after her death he fell away from the Christian church, while he studied medicine with a renowned physician Euphrosinos; under the patronage of Euphrosinos he became physician to the Emperor Maximian or Galerius.


He was won back to Christianity by Saint Hermolaus (characterized as a bishop of the church at Nicomedia in the later literature), who convinced him that Christ was the better physician, signalling the significance of the exemplum of Pantaleon that faith is to be trusted over medical advice, marking the direction European medicine was to take until the 16th century.

St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote regarding this incident:

He studied medicine with such success, that the Emperor Maximian appointed him his physician. One day as our saint was discoursing with a holy priest named Hermolaus, the latter, after praising the study of medicine, concluded thus: "But, my friend, of what use are all thy acquirements in this art, since thou art ignorant of the science of salvation?





Saint George


Historians have argued the exact details of the birth of Saint George for over a century, although the approximate date of his death is subject to little debate. The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia takes the position that there seems to be no ground for doubting the historical existence of Saint George, but that little faith can be placed in some of the fanciful stories about him.


The work of the Bollandists Danile Paperbroch, Jean Bolland and Godfrey Henschen in the 17th century was one of the first pieces of scholarly research to establish the historicity of the saint's existence via their publications in Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca and paved the way for other scholars to dismiss the medieval legends. Pope Gelasius stated that George was among those saints "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose actions are known only to God."


The traditional legends have offered a historicised narration of George's encounter with a dragon: see "St. George and the Dragon" below. The modern legend that follows below is synthesised from early and late hagiographical sources, omitting the more fantastical episodes, to narrate a purely human military career in closer harmony with modern expectations of reality. Chief among the legendary sources about the saint is the Golden Legend, which remains the most familiar version in English owing to William Caxton's 15th-century translation.

It is likely that Saint George was born to a Greek Christian noble family in Lydda, Palestine, during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD, and he died in the Greek city Nicomedia, Asia Minor. His father, Gerontios, was a Greek, from Cappadocia, Asia Minor, officer in the Roman army and his mother, Polychronia, was a Greek from the city Lydda, Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici, so the child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgios (Greek), meaning "worker of the land" (i.e., farmer). At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George's mother, Polychronia, died. Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste.

Then George decided to go to Nicomedia, the imperial city of that time, and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.


In the year AD 302, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted.


Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda in Palestine for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.


Although the above distillation of the legend of George connects him to the conversion of Athanasius, who according to Rufinus was brought up by Christian ecclesiastical authorities from a very early age,Edward Gibbonargued that George, or at least the legend from which the above is distilled, is based on George of Cappadocia, a notorious Arian bishop who was Athanasius' most bitter rival, who in time became Saint George of England. According to Professor Bury, Gibbon's latest editor, "this theory of Gibbon's has nothing to be said for it." He adds that: "the connection of St. George with a dragon-slaying legend does not relegate him to the region of the myth".


In 1856 Ralph Waldo Emerson published a book of essays entitled "English Traits." In it, he wrote a paragraph on the history of Saint George. Emerson compared the legend of Saint George to the legend of Amerigo Vespucci, calling the former "an impostor" and the latter "a thief."The editorial notes appended to the 1904 edition of Emerson's complete works state that Emerson based his account on the work of Gibbon, and that current evidence seems to show that real St. George was not George the Arian of Cappadocia.Merton M. Sealts also quotes Edward Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson's youngest son as stating that he believed his father's account was derived from Gibbon and that the real St. George "was apparently another who died two generations earlier."



Tourist Attractions