Turkey’s Antakya Museum Hotel is quite significant from an archaeological standpoint. It’s because the employees there found 2,000-year-old mosaic artwork during renovation. Sources say that it covers 9,000 square feet! Therefore, it’s the most enormous mosaic artwork on the planet and a fantastic sight.
The massive mosaic was discovered in 2010 by a maintenance team laying the current venue’s base. This fantastic work of art was revealed to the public as a component of the Antakya Museum Hotel. There was nobody who could describe the development. It was just unexpected. The most enormous mosaic on the planet and certainly the one that took the longest to make was concealed below the hotel’s structure.
According to archaeologists, this mosaic is the flooring of a public structure in the historical town of Antioch, one of the most significant towns in the Seleucid Empire. However, some parts of the mosaic have been damaged due to a sequence of powerful earthquakes between 526 and 528 A.D. Anyway, the damaged parts just add to its remarkable visual features. The mosaic stayed attached to the ground and was undamaged primarily even when the base itself pulsated violently. The artwork appears to have a few acres of sloping hills blanketed by a vast, gorgeous carpet due to this displacement.
Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great’s successor commanders, established Antioch in 300 B.C. It served as the heart of the Seleucid Empire till it was captured by Rome in 63 B.C. Due to its strategic position as a crossroads for trading between the Mediterranean and the East, it was chosen as the governor’s residence.
At its peak, Antioch had a community of more than 500,000. It was so prominent that it was compared to Alexandria and Constantinople as the second-most significant cities in the Roman Empire.
Roman mosaics from this era can be found in an unparalleled collection in the nearby Hatay Archaeological Museum, most of which were excavated and now kept indoors. But this specific mosaic needed a different strategy due to its enormous size. Instead of removing the mosaic whole or in part, covering it for safety, or erecting a building over it, archaeologists and architects collaborated to design a hybrid structure known as a museum hotel.
To allow tourists to see the magnificent work below, designated viewing places were built on a platform attached to structural columns inserted into the riverbed. The hotel’s amenities, including the ballroom, meeting rooms, pool, and gym, were housed on a platform constructed atop the columns.
Besides its immensity, one of the most impressive aspects of the Antakya mosaic is how long it took to complete. It started approximately 300 BC, when the Greeks ruled Antioch, and endured until the 1200s A.D.
Thirteen separate civilizations played a role in the mosaic during those fifteen centuries! The donors came from various cultures, such as the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, and Egyptians.