GPS coordinates: 33.58569, 35.39715
Structure is visible in Google maps.
In the lower part of the site, at the entrance to the enclosure of the Temple of Eshmun, a small Byzantine church was found, in plan only. Numerous fragments of sculpted and relief decoration, notably chancel screens and small bases, decorated with crosses and crowns were found. The two enormous lime kilns cleared in the facade must have swallowed up many other marbles. The chapel was installed on a late Roman construction, oecus and peristyle, which seems to have imposed its plan on the small basilica; its court served the atrium and the building was organized into a nave between two side aisles, and an apse to the west. In the nave, we observe the tearing away of a western, quadrangular platform, preceded by the installation holes of six posts which draw a large “T” with an axial corridor in front of the stage.
The whole was covered with mosaics in this state; the carpets of pavements delimit the three naves, the sanctuary, its choir extension in the central nave, as well as the “U” shaped portico in the courtyard. Only one stone remaining of the western wall, the original presence of the semicircular apse which one might expect in this region remains possible but uncertain.
In a second phase, the building was oriented; a monumental apse was installed in the courtyard of the peristyle, of which it takes up and abuts the east wall. What was found from small south wall of the apse partly overlaps the stylobate of the old peristyle and the mosaics already placed in the south portico, which then became the extension of the old aisle. The intermediate wall had to be razed, as well as the podium of the original sanctuary, but the alterations do not seem to have been completed; the footsteps of the podium primitive are still visible and the project to redesign the three naves so as to have continuous rows of supports and three long axes to be able to cover the building in a unitary manner does not seem to have been completed. However, like other buildings in this area, the building could have been looted for its materials. It is difficult therefore knowing if we have all the elements of the building before its abandonment.
The atrium portico is mosaiced by one geometric rug framed with white and presenting an oblique grid, with boxes decorated with large simplified roses, made of a square confined by four chevron buttons. At the east end of the mosaic of the north portico is a tabula ansata bearing a Greek inscription, which was attributed to the 5th century.
The carpet of the central nave, moving forward in a wide “T”, is a composition of intersecting and adjacent octagons, determining squares flanked by oblong hexagons.
The north and south aisles have an identical decoration: a white fitting carefully delineates the original walls and frames a large composition of adjacent octagons light yellow inscribing dark yellow straight squares and determining squares on the tip. In the wide connection at the entrance to the south aisle, the remains of a tabula ansata preserved vestiges of six lines of an inscription of dedication.
Pauline Donceel-Voûte and Bernadette Gillain, Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban: Volume I : Décor, archéologie et liturgie, Publications d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie de l’université catholique de Louvain 69 (Institut Supérieur d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’art Collège Érasme, 1988), 345-346.
All the mosaics of this small building in its Western orientation are remarkably consistent and are certainly due to a single campaign, the date of which corresponds to that of the very deteriorated inscriptions. Personally, I would have placed it in the 6th century. the identical decorations in both aisles and the flat simplicity of these surfaces without pretension.
Pauline Donceel-Voûte and Bernadette Gillain, Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban: Volume I : Décor, archéologie et liturgie, Publications d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie de l’université catholique de Louvain 69 (Institut Supérieur d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’art Collège Érasme, 1988), 346.
Donceel-Voûte, Pauline, and Bernadette Gillain. Les pavements des églises byzantines de Syrie et du Liban: Volume I : Décor, archéologie et liturgie. Publications d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie de l’université catholique de Louvain 69. Institut Supérieur d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’art Collège Érasme, 1988.
- Protruding? apse
- Π-shaped chancel (with second choir)
- None surviving excepts for fragments of chancel screens and small bases.
- Mosaics throughout
- Three west entrances in phase 1
- Protruding apse
- Entrances from the east on either side of the apse
- Π-shaped chancel
- Multiple entrances on all sides
- Ambo on the south
- Exterior chapel to the north
- Π-shaped chancel
- Inscribed mono-apsidal
- Rooms on both sides of the apse
- West entrance
- Ambo on south
- Baptistry in room south of the apse or in the south aisle
- Separate south chapel
- South entrances from side rooms/chapels
- Τ-shaped or bar-shaped chancel
- Tri-apsidal usually inscribed
- Altars in the side apses
- Relics and Reliquaries
- Ambo to the north
- Baptistry outside off the atrium or the north aisle
- Marble furnishings (high status imperial association) and imported fine wares
- Decorative elements on chancel screens [specify]
- Separate north chapel
Syrian to Roman conversion
- Τ-shaped or bar-shaped chancel replacing Π-shaped chancel
- Side apses inserted into rooms adjacent to the main apse
- Separate north chapel (suppressed south chapel)
- Liturgical furniture with decorative motifs like those at St. Clemente in Rome
Mono-apsidal with a protruding? apse.