One of the most underrated places in Jordan – and also one of my favourites – is the city of Madaba, about 30km south-west of Jordan’s capital, Amman. Famed for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, Madaba’s real treasure is the Byzantine-era mosaic map of The Holy Land. The Madaba Mosaic Map is a map of the Holy Land dating from the 6th century AD, preserved in the floor of the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George.
With over two million coloured pieces of stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns in Palestine and the Nile Delta. The map has played a huge part in developing scholarly knowledge about the physical layout of Jerusalem after its destruction and rebuilding in 70 AD.
Hundreds of other mosaics can be found throughout Madaba. These masterpieces – such as in the Church of the Virgin, the Church of the Apostles and the Archaeological Park – depict flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming.
Click here to find out more about this incredible city and how you could incorporate a stop in Madaba on your next holiday.
- Mark Prymier