Garo Nalbandian

Until the recent excavation of an Armenian monastery (see photograph), the extent of this Byzantine monastic community was unknown, although archaeologists had previously discovered isolated Armenian remains near Damascus Gate. These include the fabulous Bird Mosaic discovered in 1894 in a funerary chapel just 80 yards from the newly discovered complex. In this sixth-century floor, a luscious grape vine growing from an amphora wraps around peacocks, pheasants, ducks and other birds. An inscription dedicates the mosaic “to the memory and for the salvation of all the Armenians the name of whom the Lord alone knoweth.”