Madaba Mosaic floor at Madabais home to the famous 6th century Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics. With two million pieces of vividly coloured local stone, it depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.

In many respects Madaba is a typical East Bank town which differs in one major aspect: underneath almost every house lies a fine Byzantine mosaic. Many of these mosaics have been excavated and are on display in the town’s museum, but it is estimated that many more lie hidden waiting to be discovered.

Religion

The town of Madaba was once a Moabite border city, mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 21:30 and Joshua 13:9. Madaba dates from the Middle Bronze Age.Pope-John-Paul-II-Madaba
During its rule by the Roman and Byzantine empires from the 2nd to the 7th centuries, the city formed part of the Provincia Arabia set up by the Roman Emperor Trajan to replace the Nabataean kingdom of Petra. During the rule of the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate, it was part of the southern Jund Filastin.
The first witness of a Christian community in the city, with its own bishop, is found in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, wherein Constantine, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bostra (the provincial capital) signed on behalf of Gaiano, “Bishop of the Medabeni.”
The resettlement of the city ruins by 90 Arab Christian families from Kerak, in the south, led by two Italian priests from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1880, saw the start of archaeological research. This in turn substantially supplemented the scant documentation available.

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Attraction

Madaba’s chief attraction – in the contemporary Greek Orthodox church of St. George – is a wonderfully vivid, 6th-century Byzantine mosaic map showing the entire region from Jordan and Palestine in the north, to Egypt in the south.

This map includes a fascinating plan of Jerusalem: on the left is the north gate from which two colonnaded streets run south. On the straight street through the heart of the city stands the domed Holy Sepulcher. Clearly inscribed above the north and east gates is the legend “Holy City of Jerusalem”.Panorama-portion-famed-Madaba-map-mosaic

Other mosaic masterpieces in Madaba found in the church of the Virgin and the Apostles and the Archaeological Museum, depict a rampant profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Literally, hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba’s churches and homes.

inside-the-church-of-St-George-at-Madaba

Histroy

Madaba has a long history, dating back further than 1300 BC. It was first mentioned in the Bible as Medeba at the time of the Exodus (Numbers: 21,30; Joshua 13:9), it was then an Amorite town close to the Moab border, and it changed hands frequently. It was named in the famous Mesha Stele, or Moabite Stone (exhibited in Jordan Archaeological Museum), which recorded the achievements of Mesha, King of Moab in the mid-9th century BC – one of which was to regain Madaba from the Israelites.

The Nabataeans governed the city during the 1st century AD. And in the Hellenistic period, under the Romans, it was a flourishing provincial town with temples and colonnaded streets and surrounded by a strong wall. Under the Byzantines, Madaba became the seat of a bishopric, and in 451 AD, its bishop attended the Council of Chalcedon. During this period, and particularly in the 6th century, mosaics were lavished on churches and public and private buildings.

Madaba was sacked by the Persians in 615, and its ruin was completed by the earthquake of 747. It stood abandoned for over 1000 years until, around 1880, a group of about 2000 Christians from Kerak settled here. It was they, in the process of rebuilding, who found the mosaics buried under the rubble.

Madaba's Museum

Madaba’s Museum

Madaba’s Museum as known in the guide books as “Al Twal House” is located down a small alley a few blocks south of St. George’s Church its greatest attraction is a collection of mosaic collages, some of which are in excellent condition. It was established in traditional houses built on mosaic floors, and divided into two main units which together forms a complete unit, ‘The Archaeological Museum’ and ‘The Folk Museum’.

The museum was established in 1978 and contains:

This part of the house is a floor- designed by mosaic shapes with photos of two Peacocks and two Rams infront of a pot with a base which has two vine branches with leaves grew from it. Also a classic mythological scene shows a Bajosh female dancer wearing a transparent dress beating her anklets and a picture of Sateros naked holding a small stick with his right hand.
A mosaic portrait inside a (3.58m * 5.37m) room designed by a square drawing with four shrubbery setting out from the angles, its branches contact a circle in the centre with a human shape, two rams, two rabbits, two ducks, a lion and a bull inside, with herbs infront of them.
Consists of two halls which contains some accessories, gold and silver jewelry, old and folkloric male and female costumes that shows the tradition of Madaba and some cities near, also you can see some historical tools and handworks from the daily life of Madabian heritage and other cities from Jordan.

The Madaba Mosaic school

Mosaic school

The Institute of Mosaic Art and Restoration was originally created in 1992 as the Madaba Mosaic School, and funded by the Italian Government. It was a high school which offered the Tawjihi, the Jordanian equivalent of a high school diploma. In 2007, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, under the Department of Antiquities partnered with USAID’s Siyaha tourism development project, and a rejuvenated Italian commitment to launch the Institute as a 2 year, post-Tawjihi program. The aim of the Institute is to be a center of excellence in the region, and to train locals on a scientific level to conserve and restore the many ancient mosaics found in Jordan. Students are also taught traditional and modern methods of mosaic production, as well as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Arabic, English, geology, and chemistry.

The Institute is located between the Madaba Visitors Center and the Madaba Archeological Park. Visitors are welcome to explore the school grounds and the workshop from 8am – 2pm Sunday thru Thursday.

Madaba – Byzantine & Umayyad mosaics