Church of St. George at Evcik
The ruins of a church are around 10 meters from the cliffs of the Black Sea coast in Eastern Thrace. The church ruins are located at the northern end of the Long Wall of Thrace at Evcik in the Province of Istanbul. Its identification as the Church of St. George comes from a list of Seven Wonders made in the late 15th century, where the Long Wall is described as running from the Sea of Marmara to the Church of St. George.
Illegal digs in the winter of 1994-95 removed around 2 m. of subsidence and wind-blown deposition covering the building. The church, which was first surveyed in 1996, consists of three main phases. The building was originally a small centrally-planned domed church measuring 7.5 x 6.5 m., which perhaps dates to the 9th or 10th century. The collapsed dome filled the interior of the first phase, which was constructed of small irregular blocks with some reused larger squared stones. It had a tripartite sanctuary to the east, with two of its apses partially surviving. It had also a window and another doorway on its southern side. The building can perhaps be compared with the Church of St. John Prodromos at Mesembria (Nesebar, Bulgaria).
An elaborate narthex with northern and southern apses was added to the west around the 11th century. It had recessed brickwork and niches typical for the 11th and 12th century. The openings in its western wall were two windows flanking a central doorway. In its final phase, large sandstone blocks taken from the nearby Long Walls were added to the northern and eastern sides of the church. Remains of other structures, possibly traces of monastic buildings, were also discovered near the church.
In 2001, more intrusive and destructive illicit excavations were discovered, including a deep pit revealing the opening of a cistern under the narthex. The eastern end of the south wall was also torn down. Amongst the disturbed stones was a broken inscription, which records a seventh-century restoration of the Long Walls made during the reign of Emperor Heraclius. The ansate inscription, now at Istanbul Archaeological Museums, is approximately 110 cm by 40 cm. It is the only known inscription from the Long Walls of Thrace.
Also see: Long Wall of Thrace
Narthex, viewed from the west
Preliminary translation of inscription by C. Mango
Χ Ἀνένεοθι έπί Ἡράκ- | λιου το θεοστεφ- | ούς ἱμον δεσποτου κ- | ε Ζμαράγδου του ἑν- | δοξότατου κε πᾰνύφιμου πατρίκιου
“Renewed under Heraclius, our lord crowned by God, and Smaragdus the most glorious and most renowned patrician”.
Church of St. John Prodromos at Mesembria (Nesebar, Bulgaria)
View of Anastasian Wall by Evcik cliffs near church ruins
Plan from Crow and Ricci
J. Crow, and A. Ricci, “Anastasian Wall Project 1995”, Bulletin of British Byzantine Studies 22 (1996)
R. Bayliss, J. Crow, and P. Bono “The Water Supply of Constantinople: archaeology and hydrogeology of an early medieval city”, Environmental Geology 40 (2001)
J, Crow, J. Bardill, and R. Bayliss. The Water Supply of Byzantine Constantinople (2008)
J. Crow “Travels of an exarch: Smaragdus and the Anastasian Walls” from T. MacMaster and N. Matheou. Italy and the East Roman World in the Medieval Mediterranean (2001)
A. Kulzer. Tabula Imperii Byzantini 12: Ostthrakien (2008)