Lake Iznik, Turkey

lakeLake Iznik
surface area300 km2
maximum depth80 m
average depth20 m
lake typeNatural
length32 km
width10 km
catchment area1,254 km2
altitude83 m
volume6 km3
shore length85 km
residence time4,734 days
average discharge15 m3 / sec.

Lake Iznik is located in the province of Bursa in Turkey and is one of the most important sites for Christianity in the area.


The Greek mythology states that during the Trojan War Lake Iznik was held by the Phrygians, an ancient Indo-European tribe, who sent their troops in the aid of King Priam, the King of Troy during the war. These troops were led by the sons of Aretaon, the brothers Phorcys and Ascanius, asa mentioned in the Iliad. The lake’s ancient Greek name was Askania.

Iznik Town

Iznik is located in Eastern Marmara, on the Eastern shores of the lake with the same name. In ancient times it was referred to as “Nicaea” or “Nikaia” and it was the site of the first (in 325) and the seventh (in 787) ecumenical councils of Christianity. Later the city became the capital of the Sultanate of Rum, which was the first Turk establishment in Asia Minor. After crusaders captured Constantinople, the Latin Empire was established in 1204 and the city became capital of the Empire of Nicaea. Although it was of great importance in the past, the city of Izmik is more of a province these days.

The small city is surrounded by ancient walls with four large gates, which is one of the prime tourist attractions. There are also a number of impressively old religious buildings that can be visited, such as the 7th century Hagia Sophia, the 14th century Green Mosque and the 16th century Esrefzade Mosque.

Recently a 1500 year-old church has been found below lake waters of Iznik, likely to be Saint Peter’s church.

Significant Bird Area

The Lake Iznik precinct was declared an Important Bird Area for its waterfowl species in 1989 by Birdlife International. Because of local developments in Iznik town and pollution, these bird species are currently endangered.