Friday, July 16, 2010

Harry Tzalas on the location of the Martyrium of St. Mark

This is a satellite photograph where you can see east of Cape Lochias and and not far of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina [the circular building], the Chatby Casino. As you asked how near it is to the Coptic Church crypt…. just move slowly South, the large white building in the shape of a Basilica is the St. Mark College and in front of it, on the Corniche side there is the Hellenistic Necropolis.

Moving further south, crossing the tramway line you have a large gray void of buildings, this is the area of the Christian Cemeteries and the Copt expends towards the perpendicular avenue. It is a photo of 2002 so the new large church was not yet built.

You will note a superimposed dotted semi-circular formation and North another rectangular formation. I was puzzled by this semicircle, which in the shallows [goes up to only 3 m depth] looks like a deep carving reaching a height of circa 90 cm above the sand bottom. The diameter is of circa 500m, too large for any structure foundations! As it touches the Chatby Casino I had to find an answer.

Finally from old maps I noted that one of the 7 canals that went in Mediaeval times in the sea was reaching this exact site. The analysis of the sediments on this circular formation, made by the Department of Marine Geology of the Patras University confirmed that the incrustation was due to the contact of the fresh water and the sea water. So the Martyrium of St Mark was neighboring running water, which would have given vegetation thus accounting perhaps the name of “Boukolia”, “Boulolou” etc.

As to the rectangular formation I still have no answer, but it looks as natural and not man-made. We did, west of the semi-circular formation and nearly in front of the Casino trace in the shallows a large and smaller Proto-Christian capitals.

This is one of the loculi of the Hellenistic Necropolis of Chatby, the loculi under the Coptic Church are nearly identical; but they have been lined, recently with marble!

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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