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Ancient monastery of Byzantine period found in south Israel

Apr 4, 2014 13:02 IST

Israeli Antiquities Authorities on 1 April 2014 discovered a monastery which belongs to Byzantine period in the Bedouin village of Hura in the Negev near South Israel. The monestry said to be dated back to about 1400 years with an impressive mosaic floors.

The mosaic floors shed light on life in the region during the Byzantine period.

Archeologist Daniel Varge said the monastery is from the sixth century and that the detailed mosaics are unusual in the area.

The monastery measured 35x30 meters and included four rooms, including a prayer room and a refectory. Each room had a different design.

Colorful designs of flora, and animals along with inscriptions in Greek and Syriac are depicted in the designs. Pottery and glass artifacts and coins from the Byzantine period were also found at the site.


The church is believed to have been a center for Christian worship at the time.

Each room carries inscriptions denoting the completion of each floor, as well as a dedication to the head of the monastery. For example, one room is dedicated to Illario, with the floor completed in 596 AD.

About Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire was the successor of the Roman Empire in the Greek-speaking, eastern part of the Mediterranean. Christian in nature, it was perennially at war with the Muslims, Flourishing during the reign of the Macedonian emperors, its demise was the consequence of attacks by Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks.

Byzantium was the name of a small, but important town at the Bosphorus, the strait which connects the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean to the Black Sea, and separates the continents of Europe and Asia. In Greek times the town was at the frontier between the Greek and the Persian world. In the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great made both worlds part of his hellenistic universe, and later Byzantium became a town of growing importance within the Roman Empire.

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