Architectural relics discovered in Sebastopolis

30 kilometres (19 miles) separate Sebastopolis (Sulusaray) from Artova town and 68 kilometres (42 miles) separate Sebastopolis (Sulusaray) from Tokat’s city core. The area lies in a plain with mountains on both sides, and the Cekerek River runs nearby. The place is where the east to west, south, and central to north routes all intersect. This reveals the importance of the city during the Roman and Byzantine eras.

The origins of this storied city remain a mystery. Tradition has it that the city was established during the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan in the first century AD. It was later detached from the Pontus Galaticus Polaminiacus provinces and included into the Cappadocia region. There is an epitaph about this, a rock with many rows of inscriptions carved into it. The epitaph was written as a tribute to Arrian, the Cappadocian governor.

Architectural relics discovered in Sebastopolis

The Greek terms “Sebasto” and “Polis”—which together make up the word “Sebastopolis”—mean vast, big, or magnificent metropolis. Thus, Sebastopolis means “Great City.” Various sources refer to the city as Heracleopolis. The term “Heracleopolis” relates to the city of Heracles, a god of strength and force in Greek and Roman mythology.

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The city was an important settlement during the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods, according to architectural artefacts found during the Directorate of the Tokat Museum’s excavations in 1987. The similarities between the objects discovered at Sebastopolis and Comana Pohtica (Old Tokat) suggest that the two prehistoric cities formerly had close links.

The ancient city was surrounded by a wall made of small, finely cut stones that were linked without mortar. A circular temple with a marble floor was located on the city’s northeastern outskirts. The baths, which are situated in the eastern part of the city, drew their water from the Sebastopolis thermal spring, which is situated about 3 kilometres (1,9 miles) to the southwest. There have been a lot of sculptures, statuettes, friezes, columns, tomb steles, and epitaphs found during excavations.

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