Palestine – In Jabalia, 1500-year-old Byzantine church opens after being discovered by chance
Location: Jabalia – Palestine
Restrictions: A24 Clients
In the presence of several Islamic and Christian figures, The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities opened the Byzantine church in Gaza, discovered northeast of Jabalia during excavations to pave Salah El-Din Street.
The church covers an area of 800 square meters, and the oldest text found inside dates back to 444 AD, during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II.
This church is one of the most important churches in the Levant, because it has 16 biblical texts in the ancient Latin language, as well as integrated architectural elements of the basilica system with the three arcades and the mosaic floor, with many decorations of geometric, plant and human shapes, cooking tools, and pets and predators from Palestine and abroad.
Names of three bishops were mentioned in the church’s founding texts; Bishop Zenobius, Marcianos, and Sergius. Bishop Marcianos is the most prominent among them, as most of the church was built during his rule.
The church was exposed to aerial bombardment during the incursions carried out by the occupation forces in Jabalia in the past years, which resulted in the fall of the exterior wall.
(SOUNDBITE) Zakaria Al-Hour- General Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism):
“By opening this place today, we are drawing the features of history for our Palestinian people, a history that will be glorified by restoring this place, which will strengthen the Palestinians through connecting Christians and Muslims, in this blessed land. These landmarks are within the policy of the Ministry of Tourism, so that our ancient landmarks and our Palestinian heritage are consolidated, and embodied despite the Israeli aggression and their ability to erase these landmarks, but we in the Ministry of Tourism can restore this heritage so that it touches the human condition of our Christian and Muslim Palestinian people.”
(SOUNDBITE) Nariman Khella – Tourist Guide at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities:
“Today, the 1500-year-old Byzantine church was opened; it dates back to the time of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II in 444AD. The most important parts of the Byzantine church is the mosaics that contain animal, plant, and geometric. It is one of the oldest churches in Gaza City, and it contains more than 16 founding texts, in the ancient Latin language. The church was discovered during the paving of Salah El-Din Street, and the first thing that was discovered was two tombs, one for an old person and the other for a young child. After that, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities took over the excavation process. Despite the limited capabilities of the Ministry of Tourism, it is, in cooperation with international and local institutions, carrying out excavations within archaeological sites, the most important of which are the site of the Byzantine Church in Jabalia and the Monastery of St. Hilarium in Umm Amer.”