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The Lod Mosaic Archeological Center

Lod is not usually known as a tourist destination, but it does contain sites of interest including the Lod Mosaic Archeological Center and the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George.

 

Located between the Shfela and coastal plain, Lod was an important city in ancient times and it has a history that spans over 6,000 years. It is mentioned in the Bible as a town of the tribe of Benjamin. It was a center of Jewish scholarship and commerce from the 5th BCE until the late Roman period, and reached its peak as a Jewish center between the Great Revolt and Bar Kochba Revolt when it was known as Lydda. The legend of Saint George took place during the Roman period. During the early Muslim period the seat of power was transferred to nearby Ramla and the city lost its importance and fell into decay. The city had significance to the Crusaders because of its connection to Saint George. Lod was the site of intense fighting during the 1948 Israeli-Arab War. Its Arab population fled and was replaced by Jewish immigrants, mainly from Arab countries. It is now a mixed city in whom just over 30% are Arabs.

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Directions: Enter into Waze “Lod Mosaic Center.” There is a parking area adjacent to the museum.

Admission: The museum is open from Sunday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is closed on Shabbat. There is a small adjoining park on the museum grounds with play equipment. Admission is 36 NIS for adults, for seniors 24 NIS and for children 5 to 18 years 24 NIS. It may be advisable to prebook your visit to be on the safe side. Their phone number is 08 673 7794. This there is their website:

Public transport: Enter into Moovit “The Lod Mosaic Archeological Museum.”

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This museum displays a very impressive mosaic that was discovered in 1996 during roadwork. It was decided to build a Visitor Center around the mosaic, and this was opened in 2022.

 

The mosaic is from the late Roman period (late 3rd to 4th century CE) and was in the living room of a wealthy resident. With its display of birds, fish and exotic animals, it was meant to impress, particularly the pictures of African animals. The detail is exquisite and 2.4 million small tiles or pieces were used in its composition. Also displayed in the museum is a less well-preserved mosaic that was part of his garden.

 

Four short videos describe the different stages in the discovery and restoration of the mosaic. There is also a small display about the history of Lod with archeological artifacts found in Lod and the surrounding area.

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A walk in the close neighborhood, including the Church of Saint George and the shuk

 

There are some interesting things to see in the close neighborhood, including the shuk and Church of Saint George. You can obtain a free map from the museum desk.

 

The Church of Saint George is on Eliyahu Golomb St. (enter Church of St George into Google Maps). Adjacent to it is the Great Mosque of Lod. As the city likes to point out, Sharei Shomayim Synagogue is also close by. The church is built on a partially reconstructed Crusader-period church, which in turn was built on a Byzantine period church. Within the crypt is the sarcophagus that is venerated as the tomb of the fourth century Christian martyr Saint George, who is one of the most revered saints in Christianity.

 

Saint George was a soldier in the Roman army. When the emperor Diocletian issued an edict persecuting Christians, he publicly denounced the edict and proclaimed his Christian faith. Somewhere in the story he encountered a dragon that was threatening the city. The inhabitants appeased the dragon by offering it sheep, but when the sheep ran out, the dragon demanded a human sacrifice and the lot fell upon the king’s daughter. Saint George confronted the dragon and slew it. The city was so inspired by this act that they converted to Christianity. Despite this, he was martyred for his Christian faith for refusing to renounce Christianity during Diocletian’s persecution. This legend became very popular in Europe during the medieval period and continues to symbolize the triumph of good over evil.

 

The shuk is off Avishai Elashville St. and is visited by thousands of people from in and around the city. On Monday are sold vegetables and fruits. On Tuesday joins them sellers of household goods, cloths, Judaica etc.

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Entrance to the Church of Saint George

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