Villa of the Birds - History and Facts | History Hit

Villa of the Birds

Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt

Unearthed 2,000 years after they were laid, the stunning mosaic walls and floors in the Kom al-Dikka complex next to the only Roman amphitheatre in Egypt are known as the ‘Villa of the Birds’.

Antara Bate

15 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Flicker CC Dan Diffendale

About Villa of the Birds

Even though the Villa of the Birds is one of Alexandria’s most recent discoveries, in a city of beautiful antiquity it should definitely be on your ‘places to visit in Alexandria’ list!

Villa of the Birds

Unearthed as recently as 1998 by the Polish Archaeological Mission, the Villa of the Birds in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria dates to the time of Emperor Hadrian (117AD – 138AD) and is named for its incredibly detailed pavement.

It depicts recognisable birds including the pigeon, peacock, parrot, quail and water hen as well as a panther (replete with the horns of a defeated prey) and a stylised rosette design using tiny cubes of marble, glass paste and stone. The mosaic’s artistic depiction of birds is a unique feature and one of the few figural mosaics from Alexandria’s Roman period to survive to the present day.

Around 10 metres below street level, the Roman villa complex also includes gymnasia, baths, an Odeon theatre and residential areas and even though fire damaged the mosaics in the late 300s it still covers 110 square metres.

Villa of the Birds

Tickets are available where you buy your tickets to the 13-white marble terraced-amphitheatre (the only Roman amphitheatre in Egypt) and information panels are dotted all over the complex that tells the incredible story of the Villa of the Birds.

Excavations continue to uncover more in the area. In early 2010 the ruins of a Ptolemaic-era temple were uncovered along with statues of gods and goddesses, including a number of the cat goddess Bastet.

Getting to the Villa of the Birds

The villa is located in the residential area of a late Roman site called Kom el-Dikka. It is a 30 minute drive from Alexandria International Airport, near the ancient Roman theatre and Alexandria railway station.

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