Zeugma (Commagene)

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Parts of Zeugma have become submerged in the Euphrates River since the construction of the Birecik Dam
Zeugma (Commagene) is located in Turkey
Zeugma (Commagene)
Shown within Turkey
LocationBelkis, Gaziantep Province, Turkey
Coordinates37°3′31″N 37°51′57″E / 37.05861°N 37.86583°E / 37.05861; 37.86583Coordinates: 37°3′31″N 37°51′57″E / 37.05861°N 37.86583°E / 37.05861; 37.86583
BuilderSeleucus I Nicator
Founded300 BC
Site notes
ConditionPartially submerged

Zeugma (Greek: Ζεῦγμα) is an ancient Greek city of Commagene; located in modern Gaziantep Province, Turkey. It was named for the bridge of boats, or zeugma,[1] that crossed the Euphrates river at that location.[2] Zeugma Mosaic Museum contains mosaics from the site, and is one of the largest mosaic museums in the world.


Zeugma was founded as Seleucia by Seleucus I Nicator in the early 3rd century BC on the site where he had the first bridge over the Euphrates built.[3] In 64 BC, the Romans controlled the city. Zeugma was of great importance to the Romans as it was located at a strategically important place. Up to 70,000 people lived in the city, and it became a center for the military and commerce for the Romans.[2] In 253 AD, it was destroyed by the Sassanids, but was later rebuilt.[3]

In late antiquity, Zeugma was a diocese, but the place seems to have been abandoned in the 7th century due to Persian and Arab raids. Arabs lived there temporarily in the Middle Ages, and in the 17th century the Turkish village of Belkis was built near the ruins.


Zeugma has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Site tentative list since 2012. Extant archaeological remains at the site include "the Hellenistic Agora, the Roman Agora, two sanctuaries, the stadium, the theatre, two bathhouses, the Roman legionary base, administrative structures of the Roman legion, the majority of the residential quarters, Hellenistic and Roman city walls, and the East, South and West necropoles."[4]

Three large glass mosaics were discovered at Zeugma in 2014, including one depicting the nine muses.[5]

In February 2020, it was reported that the Zeugma Mosaic Museum attracted a record 340,569 visitors in 2019, according to the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ ζεῦγμα. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ a b "Museum of Roman Mosaics to Open in Turkey". www.luxurytravelmagazine.com. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  3. ^ a b "Remarkably Pristine Ancient Greek Mosaics Uncovered in Turkish City of Zeugma". mymodernmet.com. 24 November 2014.
  4. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Archeological Site of Zeugma". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  5. ^ "Stunning Mosaics Uncovered in Ancient City of Zeugma | Archaeology | Sci-News.com". Breaking Science News | Sci-News.com. Retrieved 2020-05-05.
  6. ^ AA, Daily Sabah with (2020-01-22). "Record number of tourists visit Turkey's Zeugma Mosaic Museum". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2020-05-05.

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