Years of conflict have exacted a heavy toll on centuries of history in the Gaza Strip. While traces of its rich past remain, the race to preserve what is left beneath the surface of this battle-scarred land is fraught with problems, as Ruqaya Izzidien reports.
Settled by civilizations spanning some five millennia, Gaza has been built layer-upon-layer since the Bronze Age.
As each era ended, its people left behind remnants of their times – churches, monasteries, palaces and mosques, as well as thousands of precious artifacts.
“Underneath Gaza there is a whole other Gaza, but every archaeological site here is found by accident,” says Hayam Albetar, an archaeologist at the Hamas-run Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
“We found a Byzantine Church when workers were digging to build Salahedin Street and stumbled upon a mosaic.”
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