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Byzantine Church of Jabalya

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Address:
Salah El Din Road, Jabalya, Gaza
Description:

During excavation works on Salah El Din Road, north of the town of Jabalya and adjacent to the Jabaliya Refugee Camp, workers uncovered the remains of a Byzantine Church dating to the 4th century. The Ministry of Antiquities is currently conserving the beautiful mosaics uncovered at the site. The mosaics, made from basalt, marble, glass, and ceramic, adorned the floors of the old Church, and depicted scenes from the natural world, including fruit, birds, and animals.

Evidence uncovered at the site suggests that many of the mosaics of the Church and the nearby Christian cemetery (uncovered in the 1990s) were damaged by the Iconoclast movement. The Iconoclasts were a Christian movement that gained popularity in the 8th century whose aim was to destroy images of Christ and God, believing them to be a violation of the biblical prohibition on worshipping ‘graven images.’ The movement originated in Rome in 726AD and quickly moved across the Christian world. Dating suggests that the movement arrived to the area around the time of the Abbasid Caliphate, where similar conservative views on iconography were shared by the Muslim rulers.

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