Yael Garden

A new garden has been opened in the heart of the museum, and in its center a spectacular bird mosaic. The mosaic, which was uncovered in Beit Guvrin (Eleutheropolis) on the coastal plain, dates from the 6th century C.E. (the Byzantine Period). Researchers believe that the mosaic ornamented a Christian prayer cell within a larger building. The mosaic ornaments are symbolically significant in Christian belief and art.
The mosaic is decorated with vine tendrils issuing from an amphora to form eight medallions (identification is approximated). A different species of bird is depicted in each of the circles. Next to the amphora are two spotted rams; above them - a bird of prey in the center, a partridge to its left and a quail to its right; and in the upper row from right to left are depicted a goose, pheasant and a crane. The border above this mosaic are two peacocks holding a wreath and above them an inscription in Greek, which indicates that the mosaic was laid in honor of Jesus by the  disciples of Obodianus, "the blameless and kind-hearted priest" who was most likely the bishop of Beit Guvrin.








Gan Yael was built by the kind donation of the Olenik Family in memory of Yael and Asher Olenik. The mosaic was restored by Israel's Antiquity Authorities.