East Turkey – Gaziantep

Gaziantep is a town in the south-eastern part of Turkey. The main attraction is the Zeugma-museum. Zeugma was a Roman town by the river Eufrat. Turkey wanted to build a hydro-electric power plant that would flood part of Zeugma. So they made a archeological excavation and found numerous mosaics and some frescos. The city must have been wealthy as the mosiacs were large, both inside and outside and both wall and floor. Several of them were from 25 to 40 square meters. All these mosaics were transported whole to Gaziantep and were recently moved to a new spectacular museum. A must-see for anyone who happen to be in the area. It is difficult to choose examples, but here are some:


The coloured pieces are pebbles from the shore of Eufrat. When they did not find the right colour, they used coloured glass. The motives  varied from mythological persons to animals and fishes to pure geometrical patterns. The most famous mosaic is the face shown above called the gypsy. This is definitely not a gypsy, some say it may be Alexander but nobody knows. I bought a t-shirt with this motive.

Several thing made an impression on me. First of all I asked: Why didn’t I know about this? It is so interesting. Then I started wondering about how. They must have had detailed drawings, particularly the geometrical patterns (see a couple above) have no room for error. In other words they knew geometry and could do complicated calculations. The detailed fitting of the small pieces with different colours and shapes (see picture above). And then the detailed work making pictures of people, animal, birds and dresses. In other words I was deeply impressed and will remember this museum for a long, long time.

This was definitely one of the best experiences on the trip.


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