The Antakya Museum Hotel is a landmark of archaeological significance in Turkey. During construction, workers discovered a mosaic that was 2,000 years old. It spans more than 9,000 feet (850 meters). It’s the largest mosaic artwork in existence and is certainly a sight to see.
A construction crew dug the foundations of the Antakya Museum Hotel in 2010 discovered the massive mosaic. This discovery was beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Under the foundation of future hotels was the largest mosaic in the world.
Archaeologists believe that this large mosaic tile, with its intricate geometries and soaring height, was once the floor of an Antioch public building. It is believed to have been one of the most important towns in the Seleucid Empire. Although it suffered damage from large earthquakes in 526 A.D. and 528 A.D., some of the damage was minimal and added to the mosaic’s extraordinary aesthetic features.
Because the mosaic remained connected to the floor, and was substantial intact, even though the foundation was shaking violently, the mosaic also remained substantially intact. This creates the illusion that the sculpture was made by covering several acres of hills and gently sloping with a magnificent carpet.
Antioch was founded 300 B.C. Seleucus II Nicator, Alexander the Great’s successor general, founded Antioch in 300 B.C. It served as the capital and headquarters of the Seleucid Empire, until it was overthrown by Rome in 63 B.C. Its strategic location between the East-West Mediterranean was ideal for it to become the governor’s house.
Antioch, which had half a billion people at its peak, was the second most important Roman Empire city.
The Hatay Archaeological Museum has a unique collection of Roman mosaics dating from this period. Most of them were excavated and kept indoors. A different method was needed because of the sheer size and complexity of this mosaic. Instead of lifting the mosaic or just a part of it or building over it to make it safer, architects and archaeologists collaborated to create a hybrid: a museum-hotel.
A platform suspended above the mosaic from structural columns that were inserted into the riverbed is now visible. There are specific viewing spots designed to allow tourists to see the incredible workmanship below. The hotel’s facilities – ballroom, conference rooms, pool, and gym – were housed on a platform erected on top of the columns.
Apart from its immense size, the Antakya mosaic’s time taken to complete is one of the most remarkable aspects. It was created by the Greeks in Antioch around 300 BC. It lasted until the 1200s AD.
13 different civilizations have been credited with contributing to the mosaic over those 15 centuries. There were many civilizations that contributed to the mosaic, including the Greeks and Romans, Byzantines.