The Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry revealed one of the largest and most important mosaics in the world. The mosaic dated back to the Umayyad period and the palace was thought to be built by the Umayyad caliph Hisham bin Abd al-Malik between 724 and 743 C.E., but experts today believed that his nephew al-Walid II actually was the one who built the palace. When the site was discovered in 1873, British archaeologist Robert Hamilton performed the first excavation.
Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maa’yah said the floor mosaic is an international treasure important because of its size and preservation in the original location. The 827 square-meter carpet mosaic is composed of 38 different scenes in geometric and floral patterns. The Palestinian Authority is hopeful for the mosaic to be a major tourism site not just for Palestinians but for foreign tourists including Christian pilgrims coming to Jerusalem and Jericho as well.
Majed Al-Fityani, Jericho Governor said that the archaeological piece depicts a “Tree of Life”. A lion preying on a deer was shown on the left side of the tree and two deer living peacefully on the other side of the tree, symbolizing war and peace.
Image Credit: Abbas Momani and Nasser Nasser / AP