In the mid-fourth century, a church was constructed around a grotto in the town of Nazareth that was said to be the Virgin Mary’s house and the place where the archangel Gabriel appeared to her during the Annunciation. This holy site was clearly well established as a place of worship towards the end of the fourth century as the pilgrim Egeria describes an altar within a grand and splendid grotto. The Piacenza pilgrim who journeyed to Nazareth in the late sixth century states that there is a basilica at the House of Mary that contains many garments that once belonged to the Virgin. Today, remnants of wall paintings, mosaics, and the architecture from this early church building are visible.
Tags: Annunciation, Architecture, C20th, C4th, C5th-C6th, Cave, Christ, Christian, Cross, Foliage, Fresco, Geometric Motif, Greek Inscription, Holy Site, Inscription, Israel, Mosaic, Nazareth, Pilgrimage, St. Gabriel, Staurogram, Virgin Mary
Capernaum is an ancient fishing town situated on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee and the ancient highway, the Via Maris, passed through it. It is identified as the place where Christ settled and as it was referred to as “his own town” (Matthew 9:1). He taught in the synagogue (which was rebuilt in the fifth century), it is the place where He healed the paralysed man and it is also the site of Peter’s house. Today, Capernaum is in ruins. It is possible to see the foundations of the houses and the original synagogue that were all made from a local basalt stone. Many decorated stones from the fifth century synagogue are also dotted around the site.
Tags: Architecture, Basalt, C1st-C2nd, C4th-C5th, C5th-C6th, Capernaum, Christ, Christian, Church, Column, Foliage, Galilee, Holy Site, Inscription, Israel, Jew, Menorah, Pilgrimage, Shrine, Synagogue, Via Maris, Wall
The place of the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes is located on the north-western shores of the Sea of Galilee. The first church constructed on the site was built in the mid-fourth century. It was small, its altar was formed from the rock upon which Christ laid the bread and fish and it was not oriented to the east. In the late-fifth Century, it was enlarged to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims who visited the site, it was given an eastern orientation and was laid with mosaics of flora and fauna. The modern church built on the site follows the plans of the later church.
A small chapel is located on a hillside to the south of the church at Kursi and is thought to commemorate the exact spot where the Miracle of the Swine took place. Today, it is in a very ruinous state and consists of an apse built into the hillside as well as pillars and a stone bench. The floor was decorated with mosaics and there is evidence for at least two layers of different designs. The lower and earlier layer is simply decorated with a predominantly beige ground and is highlighted with a grey border. The above and later layer consists of crosses within a highly detailed geometric design. It is believed to date to the same period as the church below (late 5th – mid 6th Century).
The monastic complex of Kursi is located to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and is identified as Gergessa or the Land of the Gadarenes of the New Testament where the Miracle of the Swine took place. The complex was built between the end of the 5th to the mid 6th Century and was fortified by a surrounding wall. It features a church with a large apse at the end of the nave, two side aisles and the later additions of a baptistery and crypt. The floors were paved with mosaics of geometric designs, floral motifs, fruits and birds. The large cistern, bath complex and oil press for the production of holy oil suggests that Kursi was once a popular Late Antique pilgrimage destination. It suffered much damage during the Persian invasion of the 7th Century.
Tags: Architecture, Baptismal Font, Baptistery, Basalt, Bath, Bird, Bread Basket, C5th-C6th, Christ, Christian, Church, Cistern, Column, Cross, Foliage, Fruit, Galilee, Geometric Motif, Greek Inscription, Holy Site, Israel, Kursi, Monastery, Mosaic, Oil Press, Pilgrimage, Wall
Mosaic depicting four Amazon queens - identified as Melanippe, Penthesilea, Hippolyta and Thermodosa - hunting and killing a variety of wild animals and birds. Villa of the Amazons, Halepli Bahçe, C5th-C6th.
Mosaic from the central chamber of the villa which is severely damaged with only a border of plants, water birds and some figural imagery still extant. Villa of the Amazons, Halepli Bahçe, C5th-C6th.
Mosaic of garlands and vines with birds, Villa of the Amazons, Halepli Bahçe, C5th-C6th.