My Photos: Turkey -- Mosaics -- Istanbul -- Mosaic Museum

The Great Palace Mosaic Museum

In the early to mid- fourth century AD, Emperor Constantine built the Great Palace, which was located between the Hippodrome and the Aya Sofia.  The Great Palace was almost completely destroyed in 532 AD.  During the following century, Emperors Justinian I and Justinian II undertook large-scale renovations, rebuilding and enlarging the original palace.  Some of the mosaic floors were renovated during this work, and new floors were added as well.

During excavation work on the Blue Mosque in the 1930s, some of these mosaic floors were discovered.  After restoration, the floors have been put on display, although archaeologists believe what has been recovered is just a small portion of the original palace floors.  

The mosaics depict a mix of nature, scenes from rural life, mythical creatures, and even stories from Greek mythology.

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Hoop trundling in the arena

Pomegranate tree

The Chimera, a 3-headed, snake-tailed monster

Children riding a camel

Tree detail

Children with pet bird detail

Feeding a donkey

Palm tree detail

Milking goats

Bear eating a lamb

Horses grazing

Baby Dionysus riding on Pan's shoulders

Goose tending

Winged tigress eating a lizard

Leopards eating a deer

Young boy with dog

Elephant and lion fighting



Eagle-headed lion detail  Hunter detail

Leopard hunt

Griffin and deer

Tiger hunt details

Wrestling a bear

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