Bursa, Aug 11 () - This year’s archaeological excavations have started in the 600-year-old kilns found in the town of İznik in the northwestern province of Bursa.
Up to now, scientific research has yet to reveal the secret of the famous “coral red” and “turquoise” colors of İznik tiles, and the current work is largely aimed at finding the secret of these colors.
The İznik tile ovens, which had been underground for centuries, were unearthed in 1967 during archaeological works led by Istanbul University Professor Oktay Aslanapa.
Since 1994, works have been continued by the team led by Professor Ara Altun, of the same university.
Following the recent excavations of İznik kilns on the site, Aslanapa and Altun could clearly observe that the Ottoman ceramics in İznik had a Seljuk background, according to the website of Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Turquoise was introduced during the 16th century, and the embossed red of the wall tiles of the mihrab of Süleymaniye Mosque (1555) are widely regarded as marking the peak of Ottoman tile and ceramic work.
During the Ottoman era, İznik tiles and pottery were exported overseas via Rhodes, which was under Turkish rule at the time.
Tiles from the 11th to the 17th century that were found during excavations - which continue every year in July and August - are on display at the İznik Museum.
This year works are being carried out in the region by a 20-person team headed by Istanbul University academic Assistant Professor Belgin Demirsar Arlı until September.
This year works are focusing on the area to the east of the İznik Murat II bath on the site of tile ovens used between the 14th and 17th centuries.
“An area of 500 square meters was expropriated in 2013 and included in the excavation area and this year we will work there. The İznik excavations are one of the longest-termed excavations carried out by Istanbul University” Arlı said.