7 million-piece mosaic uncovered in Jericho after 80 years
by Oren Liebermann, CNN
Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT) November 29, 2016
Jericho, West Bank (CNN)The beauty of the mosaic is only overshadowed by its size.
Seven million mosaic stones, each less than one square centimeter, cover the floor of the main hall of Hisham’s Palace in Jericho, West Bank.
For years, this work of art remained hidden, but last month it was briefly uncovered ahead of being officially opened to the public.
The mosaic was first discovered in 1935 by Palestinian archaeologist Dimitri Baramki, and the British archaeologist Robert Hamilton — but had been buried under sand to protect it from erosion.
Following a three-month excavation process, the resurfaced stones bring to life stunning, nearly perfect geometric patterns, each intricately detailed in one of 38 floor sections. The patterns, in bright reds and pinks, radiate outward from the central mosaic — a floral design of interlocking triangles.
Staring at the mosaic, which covers nearly 9,688 square feet (900 square meters), it is impossible not to be impressed.
“I have visited the place so many times with family and with friends,” says local tourist Rania Fahoum. “I have never seen it so beautiful. The mosaic adds colors and beauty to the place and gave me the feeling that there is still much to discover in this historical palace.”
Eyad Hamdan, director general for the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, in Jericho, says that the project was funded by through the Japan International Cooperation Agency at a cost of about $12 million.
“This process of constructing protective and exhibition facilities is expected to take up to a year and a half before the mosaic is displayed to the public in early 2018.”