Basilica Central Nave

Basilica Central Nave

View looking east down the central nave of the Byzantine Basilica.  The nave is about 113 long and 28 feet wide.  The altar and bema are located at the far end—where the three columns are located.

The floor of the nave was covered with opus sectile—marble cut and placed in intricate patterns. Some of the flooring is still visible.  The openings in the lower right of the photo are where portions of the drain under the floor have been exposed.  In the center of the image are the steps that led up to the preaching platform and place where scripture was read—the ambo.

On both sides of the image notice the square piers.  These piers are composed of cut blocks of stone that were covered with plaster and frescos.  They supported arches.  On each side of these piers is where the side aisles are located.  The roof of the central nave was higher than that of the sides aisles, and had windows that let light into the building—a clerestory.

Please note that when the church was excavated in 2010, the walls and piers of the church were not standing as they now are.  These, and other parts of the church, have been rebuilt using materials found during the excavation—a process called anastylosis.

This church is located in the northeast section of the city.  According to a sign at the site (= excavator's view?), it was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine (d. AD 337).  It was destroyed by an earthquake during the reign of Focas (r. AD 602-610).