Garo Nalbandian

Jerusalem is depicted with a high perimeter wall and several multistoried towers that stand guard over the city’s main gates. The Damascus Gate is shown in the foreground, with its massive archway flanked by two towers. Behind the gate is the columned rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, while the Nea Church is shown as a long, red-roofed building just to the left of the rotunda. To the right of the Holy Sepulchre, one can just make out the façade and red-tiled roof of the Church of Holy Zion, the basilica built in the fourth century to commemorate the traditional site of the Last Supper.

The Umm er-Rasas mosaic proves that the Nea survived the Persian attack on the city in 614. But what happened to the Temple treasures possibly hidden inside? Were they taken to another location? Were they looted and melted down by the invading Persians? Or did some desperate priest, fearing the fate that would befall the treasures if they fell into Persian hands, bury them deep within the Nea? And where are they now?