Vordonisi Island which became a legend as the lost island of Istanbul and referred to as “Little Island” by Byzantines, “Sunken Monastery Reef” by the Ottomans and “Bostancı Reef” by sailors, was photographed for the first time.
Maltepe Municipality pay efforts to bring the island back to light and to open it to water tourism after it is explored with its interesting details. Island remnants photographed by a professional discovery team, provide very valuable archeological and seismic data.
Officials remarked that they will do their parts in discovering natural and historic beauties of Istanbul and passing these down to future generations, and informed that they will continue their efforts. Following the dive, underwater team stated that the reef appeared as man-made however it is difficult to identify the monastery for sections under the water were exposed to thousands of years of erosion. Team working on making new discoveries, explained that a more comprehensive scientific research is due. Vordonisi Island dating back to almost a thousand years ago, is the tenth of Prince Islands comprised of Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kınalıada, Sedef Island, Tavşan sland, Kaşık Island, Sivriada and Yassıada. It is known that the island sank with the monastery on it and the priests got lost in the Big Istanbul Earthquake of 1010. Sea urchins, mussels and other sea creatures covered the remains of the island in the thousand years that have passed, and this is why it is not possible to see the great monastery. The monastery underwater is thought to be either an identical copy of or an extension of the monastery discovered in Küçükyalı.
Mert Gökalp (Underwater photographer)
“The reef we assume to be Vordonisi Island, extends over a large area around 4-5 meters under the sea. Our friends in the diving team scraped some spots to discover man-made structures. However before scientists take samples, carbon 14 dating tests and necessary analyses are made, it would not be right to declare this reef as Vordonisi Monastery.”