Small Basilica

1 2 3 4 5 ... 6 Next


The baptsterium of the Small Basilica with a mosaic of stagThe baptsterium of the Small Basilica with a mosaic of stag

When: Second half of the 5th - the 6th centuries

Length: 20 meters

Width: 13 meters

Where: Maria Luisa Boulevard, between blocks 22 and 23

Kneeling on the ground, the craftsman was in a hurry. The thick layer of mortar dried quickly, and he needed to finish the elaborate kantharos, or vessel, with branches spouting out he worked on by the end of the day. The man and the kantharos were at the most sacred part of the future church, the altar apse. The image symbolism was in tone with the importance of its position - the kantharos represented resurrection and the eternal life awaiting true believers. 

The craftsman, however, didn't think about symbolism. Laying tessera after tessera - pieces of broken ceramics, black and white stones, glass tiles - he was concentrated on following the outlines of the image carved into the wet mortar. He knew how important his job was. The mosaics should cover every square centimeter of the basilica floor, and when finished, two rows of columns, an altar and an apse screen all from marble were to be placed on top of them. Then would come the artists. They would cover the walls with plaster and then draw elaborate decorative designs on it.

Once finished, the basilica situated off the easternmost street of Philippopolis and the eastern wall of the fortifications, would be a real gem. It had an additional chapel by the southern nave and a row of extra rooms by the northern nave; and was close to the eastern necropolis of the city and the martyrium of the 37 Philippopolis martyrs on the road to Constantinople.


1 2 3 4 5 ... 6 Next