A common complaint about modern life is that nothing is built to last. A visit to the remnants of the stately ancient city of Zeugma in Turkey serves as an excellent reminder that some material objects indeed withstand the test of time. The Zeugma Mosaic Museum, located in the city of Gaziantep—formerly known as Zeugma—boasts the largest collection of mosaics in the world.
In 2000, while preparing to construct a dam, a team of surveyors unearthed a series of magnificent Greek and Roman mosaics near the banks of the mighty Euphrates River in Turkey. These carefully crafted artworks depict proud Greek and Roman gods, majestic animals, and lounging aristocrats. The mosaics once graced the bottoms of swimming pools and fountains and adorned the walls of opulent homes.
One of the most captivating mosaics discovered in recent history is a mysterious portrait known as “The Gypsy Girl.” Historians remain uncertain about the identity of the Gypsy Girl, debating whether she represents a goddess or an aristocrat. The original location of the piece is also unclear. “The Gypsy Girl” is displayed in a dimly lit room at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum, accompanied by melancholic music. Her soulful dark eyes, which convey a myriad of complex emotions to those who take the time to gaze into them, have become emblematic of the beauty and intricacy of Turkish culture.
In addition to numerous breathtaking mosaics—like the vibrant depiction of the god and goddess Eros and Psyche—the Zeugma Mosaic Museum also showcases fountains, statues, and towering columns, transporting visitors to the grandeur of an ancient Greek or Roman estate. The Mosaics of Zeugma are a testament to enduring craftsmanship and tales that will forever withstand the test of time.