Saturday, August 15, 1998 Published at 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Lost Byzantine palace uncovered
Frescos unfaded after 1,000 years
Archaeologists in Istanbul believe they have discovered part of a Byzantine palace that has been lost for centuries.
The new findings are believed to date back to the fifth century, and form part of the Great Palace of the Byzantine Empire.
However, aside from a few monuments, relatively little is known about the Byzantine city, and many of its archaeological glories remain underground and unexcavated.
On the wall were brightly-coloured frescos, still perfectly preserved after a thousand years.
The Director of Istanbul's Archaeological Museum, Alpay Pasinli, said the discovery was the result of seven months of careful excavations.
"As an archaeologist, of course, we feel very great satisfaction for this discovery. We may understand - after some study - some of the functions of the Great Palace," he said.
Archaeologists hope to exhibit some of the new finds as an open-air museum, but it may not be for many years yet.
Problems uncovering the past
Although the Byzantine remains are believed to be extensive, many of them remain buried below the thriving modern metropolis of Istanbul.
But building and development in Istanbul have increased dramatically in the last few years, making widespread excavation almost impossible.
Umit Serdaroglu of Istanbul University said: "The whole area under the earth is full of the remains of different buildings. But they are in the most crowded part of the city, and work is very difficult."