© AP
Visitors to ancient Jericho are getting a rare glimpse at what archaeologists say is the largest carpet mosaic in the Middle East.

The mosaic measures nearly 9,700 square feet (900 square meters) and shows patterns and flowers in blue, ochre and red. It covers the floor of the ruins of the main bath house of an 8th-century Islamic palace outside Jericho.

Since being briefly excavated in the 1930s, the mosaic has largely remained covered by canvas and sand to protect it against sun and rain. Starting Sunday, a small section is being laid bare for a week, as part of the West Bank town's 10,000th birthday celebrations.

Palestinian archaeologist Hamdan Taha says the mosaic will then be covered up again until the money is found for a permanent weather shield.