The Cardo Maximus was the main thoroughfare of the Emperor Hadiran’s 2nd Century CE Aelia Capitolina. It was a wide, stone-paved and colonnaded road that led through the heart of the city from the north at the Damascus Gate to the south with an unknown end point.
The southern end of the road was excavated in the 1970s during the reconstruction of the city’s Jewish Quarter. Excavators uncovered a section of the road, now located below ground level and accessible for visitors to walk upon today. This section of road was dated to the Emperor Justinian’s rebuilding programme of the 6th Century CE to link the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to the newly constructed Nea Church. It should therefore be viewed as a later addition to the original Roman road as no evidence of an earlier pavement was excavated below.
The archaeological remains at Dzalisa date to the C2nd CE and there is evidence that occupation continued into the middle ages with current research suggesting that the settlement was abandoned c. C8th CE. Whilst ancient writers did mention a Roman town this far east in Iberia, Dzalisa is the most significant Roman site found east of the Surami range of mountains and the site is probably the Zalissa mentioned by the writer Ptolemy (c.100- c.170 AD).
Today the archaeological remains cover a large area around the modern village of Dzalisa with excavations continuing every summer. It is estimated that the town covered 70 hectares in all and the reserve contains several excavated buildings, including a public bath, a swimming pool, a building with under-floor heating and part of a villa with mosaic flooring and what was probably a private bathing suite. The mosaics are only one of four examples of floor mosaic found on Georgian territory and the only one found east of the Surami mountain range.
The agora of Palmyra was located to the south of the tetrapylon and dates to the late C2nd.
Early sources reveal that Constantine’s church of the Holy Sepulchre was sumptuously decorated with fine marbled panels, columns and a coffered ceiling. A cross was set up on the rock of Golgotha to commemorate the exact site of the Crucifixion and was replaced over the following centuries with one decorated with gems, a golden cross and a simple wooden one in the seventh century. Christ’s tomb was in two parts: the first a porch that contained part of the stone that formed the door to the tomb and the second the tomb itself. It had a roof of silver and gold, outer walls made of marble and it was topped with a cross.
The modern church has been significantly modified and little of the Late Antique fabric has survived as much of it was rebuilt in the nineteenth and twentieth century following a fire and an earthquake that caused much damage.
Tags: Architecture, C12th, C19th-C20th, C2nd, C4th, Christ, Christian, Church, Constantine, Cross, Crucifixion, Crusades, Domed Basilica, Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre, Holy Site, Israel, Jerusalem, Joseph of Arimathea, Mosaic, Pilgrimage, Resurrection, St. Helena, Tomb
The first church of the Holy Sepulchre built by the Emperor Constantine was dedicated in the year 328 AD. It was accessed off one of Jerusalem’s main thoroughfares, the Cardo. The entrance led to a narthex, the basilica, an atrium and culminated with the Anastasis (or Resurrection) Rotunda that surrounded the much smaller edifice of Christ’s Tomb. Unfortunately, very little of this church now remains. The Late Antique foundations exist below ground level of the current church and are cut off from public view. Throughout its history, the church has undergone many remodelling and rebuilding programmes, much of which was caused by its turbulent history during the Persian invasion in the seventh century and the Muslim conquest of the city in the eleventh century. Much of the visible external architecture dates to the Crusader period.
Tags: Architecture, C12th, C19th-C20th, C2nd, C4th, Christ, Christian, Church, Constantine, Crucifixion, Crusades, Domed Basilica, Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre, Holy Site, Israel, Jerusalem, Pilgrimage, Resurrection, St. Helena, Tomb
The town of Bethlehem is located to the south of Jerusalem in the West Bank. Since the second century, pilgrims have flocked to the site traditionally associated as the place of Christ’s birth, a cave to the east of the town. In the fourth century, Helena, the Emperor Constantine’s mother, supposedly rediscovered the cave and had her son build a church to commemorate it. This church featured an octagonal structure at the eastern end that was positioned directly over the cave of the Nativity. At the centre of this octagon was a wide, circular opening to allow pilgrims to glimpse at the holy site. It was badly damaged during a Samaritan revolt in 529 AD and was rebuilt by the Emperor Justinian in the mid-sixth century. Much of this church has survived and is largely what is seen today. There were later modifications during the time of the Crusades, largely with the fresco painting on the nave columns. It is thus considered the oldest church in use.
Tags: Bethlehem, C12th, C2nd, C4th, C6th, Cave, Christ, Christian, Church, Column, Constantine, Corinthian, Crusades, Fresco, Geometric Motif, Holy Site, Icon, Justinian, Mosaic, Nativity, Octagonal, Pilgrimage, St. Helena, West Bank
Qatura is one of the pre-Roman villages on Jebel Seman according to Tchalenko. It is notable for its C2nd monumental tombs of T. Flavius Iulianus and Aemilius Reginus (195).
Soǧmatar (also referred to as Sumatar Harabesi) was the centre of an ancient shrine to a deity known as Marilaha (Lord God). This is known from a number of C2nd AD Syriac inscriptions cut into the summit of a high rock outcrop. The approach to this ritual high place also had reliefs of the sun and moon gods cut into the rock. Nearby is a cave, referred to as the Pognon cave after the first European to record the site, with carved images of gods and a number of Syriac inscriptions that was obviously used for some kind of funerary or cult practice, A large circular building that shows some affinities with Zoroastrian 'towers of silence' completes the grouping of monuments, but the exact function of the last mentioned element has yet to be fully understood. What is clear is that this was not a permanently occupied town, but rather a holy place of pilgrimage where the faithful would gather for key festivals. These would be officiated at by priests, but whether these religious personages lived at Soǧmatar all the time or not is unclear.