The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities yesterday unveiled the world’s largest mosaic in the palace of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham Bin Abdul Malik in the city of Jericho.
On the side lines of the ceremony to unveil the mosaic, which was attended by Palestinian officials and tourists, the Palestinian Tourism Minister, Rula Maayah, told the Anadolu Agency that the 827-square-metre mosaic is the largest in the Middle East and perhaps in the world.
“It is a work of great precision and beauty,” she said, explaining that it consists of 38 different artistic themes linked to each other with thousands of stones of 21 distinct natural colours. It is located on the floor of the palace bath.
The structure dates back some 1,400 years to the first era of the Umayyad Caliphate, and talks about the history of the Palestinian people and has a great historical value, she explained.
For his part, Iyad Hamdan, director-general of the Ministry of Tourism in the city of Jericho, told the Anadolu that the site is visited by about 200,000 tourists, both locals and foreigners, annually. He added:
With the unveiling of this mosaic, however, we hope to see double this visitor numbers
It is expected that the Japanese International Development Agency (JICA) will soon begin renovating the mosaic, including building a special roof to protect it.
Built during the Ummayad era, Hisham’s palace stands in the West Bank’s Khirbat Al-Mafjar area, roughly two kilometres from the city of Jericho.