Garo Nalbandia

UNDER THE INFLUENCE. This beautifully restored tomb located just outside Maresha reflects the Hellenistic styles favored by the city’s inhabitants during the third and second centuries B.C.E., when Alexander the Great’s heirs—the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria—battled each other for control of Palestine. The colorful wall paintings include amphora and columns flanking the gabled entrance to the main chamber (center of photo), as well as a continuous frieze of wild animals, many likely inspired by animals held in the royal zoo in Ptolemaic Alexandria. The tombs also feature inscriptions that reflect the city’s diverse, multi-ethnic makeup.