Luxury Hotel In Turkey 'Floats' Above World's Largest Intact Mosaic

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A luxury hotel in Turkey is also home to an ancient mosaic and the largest intact example ever excavated.

The 9,000 square-foot mosaic was discovered eleven years ago during the construction of a new hotel in Antakya.

Archaeologists at the site believe the geometric work once decorated the floor of a public building in the previous city of Antioch, one of the most important cities in the Seleucid Empire. The city was the center of conflicts between empires in the period of the mosaic's creation.

The Sassanians, the Rashidun Caliphate, and the Byzantines all held control at various times. The mosaic existed by 526 CE, a period of Byzantine rule in the city. This date is known because it was the first of two earthquakes which visibly rippled the mosaic. Although vast segments of the original mosaic are still intact, others have rippled and disappeared due to the earthquakes in 526 and 528 A.D.

Archaeologists have been collaborating with architects to preserve the ancient work during the construction of now aptly named Museum Hotel Antakya.

A platform connected to structural columns now hovers above the mosaic and specified viewing points were constructed as a way to let visitors view the masterwork below. The oldest intact mosaic is not the hotel's only famous attraction, though - special windows also allow for viewing St. Pierre, the nearby cave-church built by the Crusaders.

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