Palestinians unveil huge restored mosaic in Jericho

Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad
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After years of being buried under dust, sand and insulation materials, Palestinians have unveiled one of the world’s largest mosaic panels, located in the occupied West Bank city of Jericho.

The mosaic was restored as part of a $12m five-year project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

The site was opened to the public on Thursday after the Palestinian Authority announced the reopening of tourist sites in the West Bank following a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mosaic is made up of about 5 metre pieces bearing more than 20 colours from stones across Palestine – including black stones from the area of Nabi Musa, red stones from Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and white stones from Hebron and Jama'in in Nablus.

Saleh Tawafasha, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, said, “this mosaic embodies a complete system of the splendor and creativity of the Palestinian individual in every time and place."

The mosaic spans an area of 827 square metres and contains 38 mosaic carpets that together highlight various decorative and geometric forms.

It sits in Hisham's Palace, a "desert place" that stands as one of the most significant early Islamic sites in Palestine, dating back to the beginnings of the Umayyad era.

It sits in Hisham's Palace, a "desert place" that stands as one of the most significant early Islamic sites in Palestine, dating back to the beginnings of the Umayyad era.

The mosaics include images of a lion attacking a deer, two gazelles and delicate floral patterns.

Parts of Hisham's palace were destroyed by an earthquake shortly after its construction. Excavations to uncover the site began in the mid-19th century.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said it hopes to promote tourism in Palestine with this project.


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