Rare ancient mosaics, dated supposedly at the 1st century BC, have been discovered in the province of Şanlıurfa (the former Armenian city of Urfa) in southeastern Turkey.
Archaeologists have unearthed five mosaics of the time of the Armenian king Abgar V, who was a king of Armenian Mesopotamia (4 BC – 7 AD) and the fifth ruler of the kingdom of Osroene (established 132 BC and disestablished 244 AD). They believe the artifacts are connected with him.
The mosaics discovered during the execution of the archaeological project “The Castle Skirts” are engraved with Assyrian inscriptions. They will be demonstrated in museums after their restoration is completed.
Within the scope of the project, which has been carried out on an area of about 45 thousand square meters in Şanliurfa, about 80 tombs have been restored. Also, measures have been taken to preserve the ancient artifacts discovered during the excavations.
Abgar V the Black or Abgarus V of Edessa is believed to be the first Christian ruler of Osroene and one of the first Christian kings in history. Several ancient Christian apocryphal traditions are associated with his name. The most famous is the correspondence exchanged between him and Jesus. The church historian Eusebius of Caesarea records that the Edessan archives contained a copy of their letters.
Abgar has written several letters to his cousin, an Armenian king Sanatruk, and other kings, urging them to adopt Christianity. He died three years after his conversion and baptism.
The tomb of king Abgar’s family was found in July 2016. Archaeologists believe that 10 members of his family have been buried there with him.