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Published on : Friday, October 28, 2016
The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has disclosed the largest mosaic floor in the Middle East for public display in Jericho, one of the oldest cities in the world. The ceremonial opening of this on October 20 at Hisham Palace was attended by numerous official figures and public personalities, tourism ministers and other eminent representatives.
The mosaic dates back to the Umayyad era, covers the floor of the reception hall between the office of the caliph, used to host high-profile visitors, and the large bathroom in the Hisham Palace, built in 724 CE. The mosaic has unique patterns and geometric forms and is made of 38 connected panels. The large mosaic floor has a total area of 827 square meters. This mosaic floor was buried in sand before to protect it from erosion, before displaying it to the public. The project was funded by Japan and is due to start in three months.
This mosaic floor is the largest in the Middle East and perhaps in the world. To protect it from visitors stepping on the mosaic floor directly, a shielding barrier made of insulating and environmentally friendly materials capable of enduring temperature fluctuations will be built without altering the site. The floor provides history of Palestinian people and has great historical value. A specialist Palestinian team will conduct the restoration work of the mosaic floor. It will not be open to public till completion of the project.
The massive mosaic was discovered in 1935 by Palestinian archaeologist Dimitri Baramki, heading a British excavation team. Mosaics in Palestine date back to the Roman period. This art has evolved over the centuries, especially in the Byzantine and Islamic era. The mosaic floor in Hisham Palace is a unique piece of art and largest in the Middle East. The Ministry of Tourism in Palestine believes that this unveiling will boost tourism in Jericho