town, northwestern Turkey. It lies on the eastern shore of Lake Iznik. Founded in the 4th century BC by the Macedonian king Antigonus I Monophthalmus, it was an important centre in late Roman and Byzantine times (see Nicaea, councils of; Nicaea, empire of). The ancient city's Roman and Byzantine ramparts, 14,520 feet (4,426 m) in circumference, remain. The town was besieged and conquered in 1331 by the Ottoman Turks, who renamed it Iznik and built the Green Mosque (1378-91). Iznik's prosperity, which was interrupted by the competing growth of nearby Istanbul as an Ottoman centre after 1453, revived in the 16th century with the introduction of faience pottery making. Iznik subsequently became famous for its magnificent tiles, but after the workshops were transferred to Istanbul in about 1700, Iznik began to decline. Its economy suffered a further blow with the construction of a major railway bypassing the town. Today Iznik is a small market town and administrative centre for the surrounding district. Pop. (2000) 20,169.
Learn more about Nicaea with a free trial on Britannica.com.