Iznik, a city with a cultural heritage of 2400 years, is preparing for a huge celebration. Plans are being made in Iznik within the framework of "Faith Tourism", to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. Iznik has been described by the Christian world as the third "holy city" after Jerusalem and the Vatican.
Iznik, which is 85 km. from Bursa, having fertile land and vast historical assets together with a beautiful lake, is known worldwide for its tiles. It was an important city of the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman empires.
The 1st Ecumenical Council and 7th Ecumenical Council were held in Iznik in 325 and 787 AD respectively. To evaluate the potential of the city, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministries decided to include Iznik in their projects. The aims of "Faith Tourism" are to vary tourism, to impart the image of a "secular Turkey" to the world, and to stress the "tolerance" in Islam towards other religions.
As a result of controversies which arose because of doctrinal differences in the Christianty in 320 A.D. the Byzantine Emperor Constantine convened the first Ecumenical Council in Iznik in 325. At the Council, attended by 300 bishops, a solution was sought to resolve the controversy over the divinity of Christ. Later Empress Irene convened the 7th Council in Iznik in 787 AD.
There are several sites to see in Iznik today, such as the Hagia Sophia, which was a Christian church and then converted into a mosque, the city walls, and the Archaeological Museum.