City Walls-Lefke Gate

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/02/02/01/036
Level Item
Place Nicaea
Dates before 1913
Creator Hasluck, Dr Frederick William
Scope and Content City walls- Outer (Lefke) gate. This is a Hellenic Society photograph. It is number in pencil (3475). The photograph is annotated and initialed (F.W.H.) in pencil at the back.
Further information Bithynia is the region of north-west Asia Minor just opposite Constantinople. Already a province in the 4th c., it included many important cities and prospered due to its key military and commercial position. It fell under Lydian and Persian monarchy but retained its independence during Alexander the Great’s military campaign. It was ceded to Rome in 74 BC. Nicaea, one of the greatest late Antique and Byzantine cities in Bithynia, flourished particularly under Justinian I. After a brief period under Turkish control, Nicaea was besieged by the Crusaders but soon returned to the hands of Alexios I.
From 1208 until 1261 the city served as capital of the empire which was formed after the fall of Constantinople to the crusaders. During the period the city played a key role in the ecclesiastical/political scene and became a renowned cultural and educational centre. In 1331 it fell to the Ottomans.

The walls of Nicaea, built of rubble and brick, demonstrate successive phases of construction/rebuilding, mainly in the 8th /9th/12th and the 13th c. They underwent extensive restoration by John III Vatatzes who considerably strengthened the fortification system of the city by adding an outer wall and a moat to the existing single rampart.