When heading south from Amman along the King’s Highway one of the first towns that you come across is Madaba, affectionately known as the ‘City of Mosaics’.
At first glace Madaba appears to be a typical East Bank town, but there is one major difference. Under almost every building, you will find a fine Byzantine mosaic. Many of the mosaics have now been excavated, and are now on show at the town’s museum, although it is estimated that many more are still hidden, waiting to be discovered.
The main attraction for many visitors to Madaba is the contemporary Greek Orthodox church of St George. Within the church you will find the amazingly vivid, Byzantine mosaic map. The map shows the entire region from Jordan and Palestine in the north to Egypt in the south. The map dates back to the 6th Century.
Madaba’s long history dates back further than 1,300BC, and was first mentioned in the Bible as Medeba, at the time of the Exodus. Little of the city has actually changed since biblical times; you will see weavers hard at work crafting carpets and tapestries outside the many shops.