Garo Nalbandian

Commonly known as the Armenian Mosaic, this sixth-century A.D. pavement is one of the best preserved, but least visited, ancient mosaics in the Near East. Accidentally uncovered in Jerusalem’s Musrara district in 1894, the mosaic was once part of the mortuary chapel of an obscure Armenian saint named Polyeuctos. It depicts more than 30 birds encircled by the winding branches of a grapevine—a popular subject in sixth-century religious art. Similar images appear on the sixth-century Artavan Mosaic and Saint John’s Mosaic, both in Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter. The property of Jerusalem’s Armenian Patriarchate, the mosaic is rarely open to the public.