This Is Not a Giant Carpet, It’s Actually The World’s Largest Ancient Mosaic Discovered In Turkey

The Antakya Museum Hotel in Turkey is of immense archaeological significance. Workers uncovered a 2,000-year-old mosaic that spans over 9,000 square feet (850 square meters) during construction! It’s the world’s biggest mosaic artwork, and it’s definitely a sight to behold.

The massive mosaic, which was just revealed to the public as part of the newly built Antakya Museum Hotel, was discovered in 2010 by a construction crew digging the hotel’s foundations. The finding was much above anyone’s expectations. The world’s largest mosaic, and perhaps the one that took the longest time to produce, was hidden beneath the foundation of the future hotel.

Archaeologists think that this massive mosaic tile, with its sophisticated geometries, was the floor of a public building in Antioch, one of the most significant towns in the Seleucid Empire. Although it was damaged by a series of large earthquakes in 526 and 528 A.D., part of the damage simply adds to the mosaic’s remarkable aesthetic features, since the mosaic remained linked to the floor and substantially intact even as the foundation itself undulated violently. This undulation gives the impression that the sculpture was created by covering a few acres of gently sloping hills with a large, magnificent carpet.

Antioch was founded in 300 B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great’s successor generals, and served as the capital of the Seleucid Empire until it was overrun by Rome in 63 B.C. Because of its strategic location between the Mediterranean and the East, it became the governor’s seat.

Antioch had a population of half a million people in its heyday and was so important that it was regarded a contender to Alexandria and subsequently to Constantinople as the second most important city in the Roman Empire.

The Hatay Archaeological Museum features an unrivaled collection of Roman mosaics from this time, most of which were excavated and preserved indoors. The sheer size of this mosaic, on the other hand, demanded a different technique. Instead of lifting the mosaic, or a portion of it, or covering it and building over it for safety, archaeologists and architects collaborated to construct a hybrid: a museum hotel.

A platform connected to structural columns inserted into the underlying riverbed now hangs over the mosaic, with specific viewing places built to allow tourists to observe the spectacular workmanship below. The hotel’s facilities – ballroom, conference rooms, pool, and gym – were housed on a platform erected on top of the columns.

Aside from its enormous magnitude, one of the most amazing aspects of the Antakya mosaic is the length of time it took to complete. It began approximately 300 BC, when the Greeks ruled Antioch and lasted until the 1200s AD.

Thirteen separate civilizations are said to have contributed to the mosaic throughout those fifteen centuries! Contributors came from a variety of civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, and Egyptians.

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