Saturday, July 22, 2017

Z is for Zeugma Museum

For my final contribution to the A-Z Guidebook posts, I’ve dug back into my photo archives from five years ago when we visited the Zeugma Museum located in Gaziantep, southeast Turkey.

In 2012, the museum, less than a year old then, was fascinating because it is the world’s largest mosaic museum – containing 1700m2 of priceless mosaics from the ancient Roman town of Zeugma, which means “bridge” or “crossing” in ancient Greek. 

Wandering through partly reconstructed ancient Roman villas, excavated on-site around the Euphrates river, one can almost travel back in time to nearly 2,000 years ago when Zeugma was a popular trading center along the Silk Road route to China. Zeugma was founded along the river in 300 BC by one of the generals of Alexander the Great and reach its peak in the 3rd century AD before being abandoned due to raids and earthquakes.
Today, much of the ancient town and its modern counterpart of Belkıs lie under the reservoir created by the construction of one of Turkey's largest dams in 2000. The massive Birecik Dam is located less than a mile from the site. 

Fortunately, international archaeologists were able to save many artifacts and these impressive mosaics before the dam flooded the area. The Zeugma Museum attempts to recreate the atmosphere that once prevailed in this prosperous Roman town. Though you’ll find plenty of Greek and Roman gods preserved in the mosaics, my favorite is the Gypsy Girl, known for her emotive eyes that seem to follow you wherever you go in the dark room where she now lives.
Looking back now, we were very lucky to travel through southeast Turkey when we did. The people we met were wonderful, the food was delicious and the historical sites were memorable. And that is what travel is all about for me!

I’m linking this post to the monthly travel guide link up organized by Fiona, a fellow Australian blogger, at Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures, who has kindly hosted this link-up for the past 26 months! Thank you! Each month featured a new letter of the alphabet. This month is the letter “Z.” Please pop on over to Fiona’s blog to read more A-Z travel stories or feel free to link up your own!

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Mackay Sherry said...

Hi Joy. What a wonderful experience that must have been to see this. Such a shame the dam has now drowned the original site. Turkey sounds a bit scary now. Cheers and yay we did it!:). 26 months of posts.

Georgina Ingram said...

The world's largest mosaic museum in Gaziantep is fast becoming one of Southeast Turkey's major cultural attractions. You must need to visit there. Thanks for sharing!

Travel oregon said...

One of the first lessons I learned on the road was that your plans will nearly always change. You’ll arrive in a place and want to leave immediately, or you’ll fall in love with a destination and want to spend longer there.