Where is the Ancient City of Zeugma? History and Story

Zeugma is an ancient city founded by Selevkos I Nikator, one of the generals of Alexander the Great around 300 BC.

Today, it is located on the outskirts of Belkıs neighborhood, 10 km away from Nizip district of Gaziantep province. Firstly, the city, which was known as "Selevkaya Euphrates", which means Selevkosya on the Euphrates, on behalf of its founder, was taken over by the Roman Empire and began to be called "Zeugma", which means bridge. Antioch (Antakya) gained a great commercial value as a port in the passage between China through the Euphrates.

The city's villas and bazaars A and B, which were examined in three sections as A, B and C in the excavations, are today located under the Birecik Hydroelectric Dam Lake. It is planned to establish an open air museum in Section C, which has not been excavated yet. The ancient city is world famous for its mosaics from the Roman period.

The mosaics extracted from Zeugma excavations were exhibited in Gaziantep Archeology Museum for a while, and then moved to Zeugma Mosaic Museum in 2011.

Chronological history of Zeugma 

  • 300 BC - Selevkos I, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, founded the city of Selevkeya Euphrates, the first settlement of Nikator Belkıs / Zeugma
  • 1st century BC - Selevkaya Euphrates name of the city is preserved and becomes one of the 4 major cities of the Commagene Kingdom.
  • 1. century - In the first quarter of the 1st century, it joined the territory of the Roman Empire and its name was changed to "Zeugma", which means "bridge", "passage".
  • 252 - Sassanid King Shapur I captures Belkis / Zeugma and burns it down
  • 4th century - Belkıs / Zeugma enters late Roman domination.
  • 5-6. century - Belkıs / Zeugma It came under the early Roman domination.
  • 7th century - Belkıs / Zeugma is abandoned as a result of Islamic Raids.
  • 10-12. century - A small Islamic settlement is formed.
  • 16th century - Belkıs Village is established with its current name.

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