Mosaic of St. Sophia in Kiev.
Mosaics were decorated with walls, floors and ceilings for many millennia. Thanks to the technology of creating mosaic tiles, many of these works of art have survived to this day. In our review, the most incredible ancient mosaics that reveal the most interesting mysteries of scientists.
1. Hidden angel at the Cathedral of St. Sophia
Mysterious Mosaic: A Hidden Angel in the Cathedral of St. Sophia.
In the Istanbul Cathedral of St. Sophia during the restoration work found previously unknown image of the Six-Winged Angel. The mosaic depicts the seraphim, that is, the angel from the closest encirclement of God. For 160 years, the mosaic was hidden under seven layers of paint because of the ban on the image of faces of people in Islam. The age of this work, according to scientists, is about 700 years.
2. Map of the ancient city
Mysterious mosaic: map of the ancient city.
During the digging of the pit during the construction of an industrial park in Kiriat Gat, Israel, a mysterious image was discovered. The 1500-year-old mosaic on the floor of a destroyed Byzantine church depicted a map of the ancient Egyptian city of Chortaso, some of which place the burial place of the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk. It is worth noting that this is a very controversial issue, as Christians believe that the place of the last rest of Habakkuk is unknown. Israel and Iran say that they have the grave of the prophet. On a mosaic in Kiriat Ghat, buildings in Chortaso are strikingly detailed, even balconies and windows on them.
3. Project “Invader”
Mysterious mosaic: Invader video game “Space Invaders”.
Beginning in 1998, a mysterious French street artist leaves his mosaic “signature” in cities around the world. He received the pseudonym “Invader” (English Invader), because his work depicts scenes from the classic “Space Invaders” video game. His works appeared in Paris, Kathmandu, Mombasa, Hollywood and dozens of other cities. Although nobody knows who the Invader really is, he gets good money for his work thanks to public donations and the sale of copies of his “signatures.”
4. Tomb of Amphipolis
The mysterious mosaic: Tomb of Amphipolis.
The giant mosaic was discovered in the largest of the surviving ancient Greek tombs. Located in Amphipolis (North Macedonia), the work depicts a chariot harnessed by white horses, on which the bearded chariot and god Hermes stand. Mosaic size 4.5 x 3 meters is dated 4th century BC Interestingly, it is still not fully excavated, so archaeologists can only guess about the full picture. It was made during the reign of Alexander the Great, when Amphipolis was a mighty center of the Macedonian Empire.
5. Hatay skeleton
Mysterious mosaic: Hatay skeleton.
In 2016, Turkish archaeologists in Hatay discovered a mysterious mosaic with a subterranean plot. At work, dating from the third century BC, a lying skeleton is presented that “advises to be cheerful and to live their lives.” A bottle of wine and a loaf of bread are lying next to the skeleton. Once upon a time, this mosaic adorned an elegant villa in the ancient Greek city of Antioch.
6. The laying of the ancient Mitl
The mysterious mosaic: the laying of an ancient Mitl.
The ancient Mexican city of Mitla is best known for its mysterious mosaics. Here, this kind of art can be found literally everywhere: in municipal buildings, palaces and tombs. There are six main types of mosaics in the Mite, some of which are connected with one another by horizontal stripes. Some researchers assume that this is actually some kind of encrypted language.
Interestingly, each polished stone tile in these mosaics is cut individually, with stunning accuracy. Their grooves are so perfectly matched to each other that the mosaic is laid out without a mortar. Even with the help of modern technology, the cost of such an accurate processing of the stone would be prohibitively high. Experts believe that the finishing work would cost ten times more expensive than the buildings they decorate.
7. The mystery of the destroyed synagogue Khukok
Mysterious mosaic: Khukok synagogue.
An ancient mosaic, which was found on the floor of a destroyed synagogue of the Roman era in the Israeli Hukok, is still a riddle for scientists. In this work of the 5th century AD there is a meeting between two high-ranking men, but their personalities are unknown. Most modern scholars believe that a bearded man in white clothes, which you see on a mosaic, is the high priest of Jerusalem. The personality of another person is generally unknown.
8. Cypriot “Hippodrome”
Mysterious Mosaic: Cypriot Hippodrome.
In Cyprus, a very rare mosaic with a picture of a chariot race on a racetrack was discovered. It is believed that this work of 11 x 4.2 meters was created in the first half of the fourth century AD. It depicts four chariots, each harnessed by four horses. Interestingly, this plot may have a hidden political implication: experts believe that this may be the image of the four factions that fought for control of Rome at that time. This mosaic was decorated with a villa of Roman nobles or a wealthy Cypriot citizen.
9. Surfing Madonna
Mysterious mosaic: Surf Madonna.
In 2011, a mysterious mosaic appeared on the Californian town of Encinitas, depicting the Virgin Mary Guadalupe, standing on a surfboard. As it turned out later, Mark Patterson and Bob Nichols, dressed as a builder, secretly placed this work under the railway bridge. Later, the city authorities invested thousands of dollars in order to preserve the mosaic that was transferred to the Ensantias Boulevard.
10. Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem
The mysterious mosaic: The Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem.
The Church of the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem was allegedly built on the birthplace of Jesus. This sacred place was forgotten for many centuries, and when it began to be reconstructed, it turned out that inside the church are decorated with huge mosaics depicting crusaders. Over the past centuries, people have forgotten about them and frescoes have disappeared under the age-old layer of dirt. There are plans to continue the reconstruction project, including the removal of stone slabs to find ancient mosaics that adorn the floor.