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Byzantine Empire Fleet No Longer Bars Istanbul's Tunnel Construction

Posted: Dec. 5th, 2012  |  By Michael Pearse
Excavation site in Istanbul
Gokce Saracoglu for NPR

After long delay public transit projects in Istanbul are finally underway after 8 years of waiting for the Byzantine Empire's Fleet to cross. The Transit plans included a tunnel under the Bosporus Strait and when the diggers came in they began to encounter what ended up being shipwreck graveyard from one of the medieval time's greatest ports.

In Istanbul, major public transit projects are back under way after years of paralysis. The problem wasn't a lack of financing, but the layer upon layer of ancient artifacts that turned up every time the earthmovers started their work.

The excavation began eight years ago on projects intended to ease Istanbul's notoriously clogged traffic.

The job included building a tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait and linking it to a rail and subway network. When the dig was stopped several years ago, eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged.


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