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Zerzevan Castle

UNDERGROUND CHURCH

AD 3-7. century

In the center of the settlement, there is an underground place of worship used by the first Christians who lived here, converted from a rock tomb whose previous phase was the Roman Period. It is a seven-step, single-entrance, three-kline tomb that was originally built underground by carving into the main rock, and was built in A.D. It must have been used in the 3rd century. Later, with the release of Christianity in the Roman world, a small group living here converted the tomb and performed their worship in this structure. During this phase, the eastern kline was transformed by carving it from both sides and engraving a cross on it, and a cross and some characters were engraved on the eastern walls. The kline in the north was destroyed and turned into a second door entrance, and a cross was engraved on both sides of the door. Since the place was used for worship purposes, a large hole was opened on the ceiling of the south kline for ventilation purposes. Outside the building, right in front of it, there is a pool carved into the bedrock, used for baptism. Additionally, a niche was opened on the eastern wall of the place of worship to place a lamp. This shows that the place of worship was illuminated and used in the evenings. The surviving large church in the settlement must have been built later as the number of the community living here increased.

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