By Stella Tsolakidou
New archaeological excavations are being conducted at the Orthodox Church of Faneromeni in Ayvalik, a district of Balekisir, under the auspices of the Municipality and the Turkish Ministry of Culture.
The findings of the excavations at the centre of the Kasibasa neighborhood are being eagerly anticipated by the local people, and not only them. The Church there was allegedly built some 200 hundred years ago, and the archaeologists are focusing now on finding the Holy Water running under the Church that is sacred to the Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics.
The building is known to the locals as the Holy Water Church, and has long hosted a small oil industry. The Ministry of Culture has bought the building to preserve it and the Municipality of Ayvalik has done everything to restore it and highlight it as another cultural attraction boosting the tourist economy of the city.
Excavations so far have revealed two water sources. Parallel to them there are stairs leading to a pool of water surrounded by embossed Christian saints. Moreover, an embossed angel was found which is believed to depict the Greek maiden that showed Virgin Mary where the Holy Water was.
Archeologists believe the water they have found is indeed the Holy Water of traditions but are not certain yet whether it comes from a water well or a pool.
The Mayor of Ayvalik is planning now to start selling the Holy Water to visiting tourists in order to attract more tourists and financially support the municipality.