The Museum Hotel in Antakya, Turkey offers travellers and Tile Addicts alike something incredibly special. During its construction almost ten years ago the excavations revealed an awesome hidden secret – a mosaic carpet. Not just any mosaic carpet, but the largest ever found in Turkey, measuring between 9,000 and 10,000 sq ft.
Although it is not in pristine condition, it offers a curious few features on top of its enormous size. Believed to have once been the intricately decorated floor of a public building, many large segments of the mosaic remain in tact. However the tiny tesserae are not all in their original position. Due to a series of earthquakes in 526 and 528 AD, the patterns have formed a rippled wave. Some cracks were formed, but in many places the design accommodated the change in relief creating a truly fascinating effect.
Antakya, formerly Antioch, was once one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire for enabling trade between the Mediterranean and the East. Many incredible mosaics have been found beneath the city, but none are quite so striking as the undulating beauty now made a feature of the hotel.
Rather than move the enormous and incredible creation, it was decided that it would be incorporated into the structure that enabled its discovery. The hotel was built around the mosaic, and designed to create minimal on-site construction to conserve the art. Guests are given vantage points on all sides through walkways to different parts of the hotel, allowing constant views of the 2,400 year old marvel.
Find out more about the mosaic here.
A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, November 2019.