Monday, July 04, 2011

Museum of Roman Mosaics to Open in Turkey

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey is opening a new museum to display priceless mosaics dating back as far back as the 1st century BCE.
The Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep encompasses pre-Hellenistic cultures and the Greek and Roman empires. Zeugma, thought to have been founded by a general in Alexander the Great’s army, was initially two cities on either side of the Euphrates River. It grew over countless centuries because it was located at the easiest crossing of the river, exactly where major trade routes in the ancient world linked east and west as well as north and south.

The city’s location was considered so important by the Romans that Zeugma became a vital military center where tolls were collected on commerce and travelers. At one point the city was home to more than 70,000 people. In the process, wealthy residents, businessmen, military officers, governors and other notables built impressive homes and villas distinguished by magnificent mosaics -- on floors, in pools, courtyards, kitchens and elsewhere. Because of Zeugma’s position at the center of international trade and commerce, these mosaics represent a treasure trove of information about the interaction and assimilations of ancient cultures over the centuries.

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