The Roman/Byzantine mosaics in
the Hatay (Antakya)
Archeology Museum (Antakya
Arkeoloji Müzesi) are the main
attraction in this city at the far eastern
end of Turkey's Mediterranean
coast, though the city's long history has left much more behind.
In 2014 the new museum building, with the world's largest display area for mosaics, is set to open.
The mosaics, dating
from the 1st to 5th centuries AD, are
well displayed. Most labels are
in Turkish and English. The museum
is open 08:30 am to 12:30 pm and 13:30
to 17:30 (1:30 to 5:30 pm), closed
Perhaps the richest collection of Roman mosaics in the world...
mosaics were recovered from Antioch
ad Orontes (Antakya),
the garden suburb of Daphne (now
called Harbiye), from Roman Mediterranean
seaside villas, and from Tarsus
by archeological teams from Princeton
University in the early decades
of the 20th century. The museum opened
to the public in 1948.
The artistry of the
mosaics is amazing: look close, and
all you see is little bits of colored
stone. Look from the optimal distance
and you see distinct images with subtle
lions, 8th-century BC
The Antakya Arkeology Museum is
not just its Roman mosaics, however.
Several halls are dedicated to other
aspects of Roman and Byzantine culture,
with exhibits of marble sarcophagi,
coins, pots, tools, glassware and statuary.
You'll certainly notice the beautifully-carved
8th-century BC twin lions on
a column pediment.
Many of these finds were discovered
by Chicago Oriental Institute teams
working at Cüdeyde, Dehep, Çatalhöyük and
Tainat from 1933 to 1938. Others were
contributed by Sir Leonard
excavating at El Mina in Samandağ and
at Tell Atchana (Aççana
1936 and 1939.
If you're interested in Roman mosaics,
you should also consider a visit to
Gaziantep to admire the beautiful mosaics
rescued from ancient Zeugma,
now inundated by an artificial lake. More...
(Antakya) Arkeoloji Müzesi
Cumhuriyet Meydanı (map)
Caddesi No. 1
Hatay (Antakya), Turkey
Tel: +90 (326) 214 6167, -68
Fax: +90 (326) 214 6167
—by Tom Brosnahan