Replica of Ancient Roman Mosaic Unveiled in Celje
Ljubljana, 10 September - A street in the centre of Celje, a city in north-eastern Slovenia with a rich Roman history, has been given a decorative touch emphasising its former glory, as a replica of a Roman mosaic made by Turkish mosaic masters was unveiled there on Wednesday.
The replica of the mosaic found during the renovation of the old town was a gift of the Turkish town Gaziantep, which is known for masters of the art.
Celje and Gaziantep being friendship towns, the municipality has asked for the replica after the Restoration Centre of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia had made a reconstruction of a Roman mosaic whose fragments were found during archaeological excavation at Celje's Main Square in 2013 and 2014.
Although it was expected that some remains of what was know as Celeia in Roman times will be found during the excavations, archaeologists were amazed by the excellently preserved remains from the Late Antiquity.
The finds, dating back to the second half of the third and the late fourth centuries AD, were discovered just bellow the modern stone-paved streets, reaching to the depth of 4-4.5 metres.
Apart from two Roman roads with columns, two elaborate villas of patricians were also found. Experts believe they were used at least from the late first to the end of the fourth centuries AD.
In one of the two villas in Main Square three rooms with mosaics were discovered, two of which were preserved to the extent allowing restoration.
The third was however rather damaged, so the reconstruction of what was once a colourful mosaic with geometrical and plant ornaments was made, enabling the Gaziantep masters to create an exact replica.
The finds are considered quite significant, because the well preserved remains of the buildings, its sheer size, elaborate mosaics and communal infrastructure point to the wealth of the inhabitants at the time of the Imperial Crisis.
Wide roads, drainage, stone-paved and covered pavements also along the streets outside the city centre suggest that Celeia was an economically powerful and densely populated city even when the empire was struggling with a crisis.