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Anthedon and Maioumas / Tel Balakhiya

» » » » Anthedon and Maioumas / Tel Balakhiya
Al Shati' Refugee Camp, Gaza

The site of Anthedon, Greek for ‘city of flowers,’ is thought to have been the first port of Gaza. The site sits just to the north of the present-day Beach Refugee Camp. Anthedon was said to be inhabited from 800BC until 1100AD, when, for unknown reasons, the port was moved farther south to the Roman harbor of Maioumas. The long history of the site includes being the point where Alexander the Great is believed to have brought his military equipment ashore during the 4th century, in preparation for his siege on Gaza. It was also part of the coastal territory that Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra as a gift.

Many archaeological remains have been found on the site. They include a Roman temple, villas, and industrial and residential quarters. There is also a massive mud-brick defensive structure that includes a tower and city walls. There is also evidence at the sites of Anthedon and Maioumas of a rich Christian history, dating back to the Roman times. In 335, Constantine named Maioumas as a city with its own bishop, the last of whom died during the 18th century. In 1965, Egyptian archaeologists unearthed 6th century Christian remains on the site, including a large mosaic with depictions of the natural world, including animals and plants.

The remains of Anthedon and Maioumas are currently awaiting proper excavation and restoration and have been buried under the sand dunes until that is possible. The ancient city has also been listed as a tentative World Heritage Site in Palestine.

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