Antakya, the city formerly known as Antioch, is said that to have been founded by one of Alexander Great’s generals, Selevcos satrap of Babylon. Then, Antakya became a province of
the Roman Empire, and also the third largest city of the World after Rome and Alexandria in those times.
Being at important location, presence of roads and cross-roads of cultures; made this wealth reflected in all works.
The historical works, which reflect understanding of art of all the civilization from Mitannies to Hittites, from Assyrians to Urartus, from Roman Empire to Byzantine Empire, can be seen at Antakya archaeological museum. The museum was opened first in 1948, and expanded during 1969-1973. The museum has got now; main entrance, eight big halls, porches and the garden.
Prehistorik, Helenistik, Roma ve Bizans dönemlerini yansıtan diğer birçok tarihi eserin de yer aldığı müzede, dünyanın üçüncü büyük sikke koleksiyonu bulunmaktadır.
In the archaeological museum totally 34317 pieces unearthed works, obtained during excavations, are exhibited. These are consist of 18100 pieces archaeological work,1050 pieces ethnographic work, 13820 pieces of coins and 1347 pieces of seals .
It is the second largest mosaic museum of the world with its’ 1250 square-meter mosaic area, on which mythological episodes are depicted.
There are also some other works reflecting Prehistoric, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. The coin collection is the third largest one of the World.
The mosaics, exhibited at the Museum, took a very important and valuable place among the historical arts in the world in terms of number, quality and size. At the museum roughly 120 pieces mosaics are exhibited in large rooms and wall panels, and 70 pieces are kept in the stores due to shortage of space.
Various themes are observed on the mosaics decorating the walls and the floors of the houses, baths and palace rooms. Mythological heroes, legends, gods, goddesses and also the events, in which the heroes took place, were presented on the mosaics made in the beginning till the era of acceptance of Christianity. The events were mostly related to heroes such as Zeus, Tethys Oceanus, Apollo, Psyche, Eros, Satyrs, Aphrodite, and Bacchus. Staged events were about, for instance, Narcissus who fell in love with his reflection in the water, fairy girl Daphne who was escaping from Apollo who was in love with her, powerful mythological hero Hercules. With the adoption of Christianity, usage of Mythological elements on the mosaics was reduced and then usage of seasons and religious matters were started.
Some of the mosaics exhibited at the Museum;
Soteria Mosaic , Bacchic Dancers Mosaic, Mosaic of Apollo & Daphne, The Drunken Dionysos Mosaic, Mosaic of Narkisos, Mosaic of Thalassa , Mosaic of Tarsus, Boat of Psyches Mosaic, Mosaic of the Buffet Supper, Peacock Mosaic , Mosaic of Orpheus