/Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Antep

Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Antep

The Zeugma Mosaic Museum opened in Antep in September 2011, giving the world famous mosaics collection a new and modern home. When I visited its precursor in 2008, I was the only visitor in the small museum. It was just me, a few guards, and tens of millions of polychrome tesserae arranged in geometric and figurative patterns.

Zeugma is the Roman name for Seleucia, a city founded during the reign of Hellenistic king Seleucus I in the 4th century BCE. It is at a strategic point on the Euphrates River and its location guaranteed its military and commercial importance until the 3rd century CE. Centuries of neglect, abandonment and debris deposit protected its luxurious bathing complexes and patrician villas. Major excavations began in the 1970s and continue today, though access has been considerably complicated by the controversial Birecik dam project, which deliberately covered the site for commercial purposes. Today there is a small museum and active archeological dig in the part of Zeugma that remains above water. The salvaged mosaics are preserved in nearby Antep.

Even the simplest and most common geometric patters are mesmerising.

Though let’s face it, mythological subjects with architectural perspective are pretty spectacular, too.

The second floor of the museum provides a birds eye view over the sprawling ground floor mosaics.

This stunning mosaic depicts the super fertile Titaness Tethys and her husband/brother Oceanus who produced 3,000 offspring together. Damn.

Some images depict playful things like a naughty peacock eating grapes.

And intact or not, Zeugma’s mosiacs are a tribute to the complexity and artistic tastes of late antique Roman culture.

2017-02-17T15:18:19+00:00 April 21st, 2012|Categories: Antep/Gaziantep, Culture, Travel|7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jeremy Parzen April 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    This post is simply thrilling, Katie. LOVED it…

    Your glosses are pretty hilarious, too…

    love the peacock…

    But why did the Romans call Seleucia “Zeugma” (Greek for yoke)?

  2. Katie April 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    the peacock is ADORABLE!

    could zeugma also mean bridge?

  3. Frank April 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    Incredible. Those mosaics are in fanastic shape!

  4. Lawrence April 23, 2012 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for posting this up (I came across it via Sonia King’s FB page). Lovely clear photos!

  5. Discover Gaziantep April 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Worlds biggest mosaic museum! Great post. For more attractions in Gaziantep, follow http://twitter.com/DiscGaziantep

  6. […] our Antep food gurus Emre and Tuba, Semsa and I headed to Halil Usta, a busy kebab place near the mosaics museum. When we arrived around noon, the place was hopping. They do a brisk business, mainly of grilled […]

  7. Katie May 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    @frank they have done a stunning restoration job

    @lawrence glad sonia linked to it and im thrilled you like the photos!!

    @discover gaziantep the museum is huge! so much bigger than the one i visited in antep 4 years ago. they’ve done a marvelous job

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