Upon arriving to the bus station in Madaba, I began to try to get my bearings. I had a tourist map from a previous trip to the city but, for some reason, whoever drew the map decided that the bus station wasn’t important enough to be included. So I have a map but no land marks to tell me where on the map I am.
However, being a good boy scout, I brought along my compass. There are only a few major roads in Madaba and I was on one of them. But which one? Well, my compass reading said that the road I was on was running 30 degrees off of North and South. Thankfully, there was only one major road that matched that bearing. Golden! Now I knew which road I was on.
Of course, I didn’t know exactly where on that road I was but I made my best guess as to which way to go. It wasn’t long before I started seeing signs leading me through the maze-like side streets toward my first landmark, the visitors center. From there finding all of the other places was pretty straight forward.
Madaba has been inhabited for over three thousand years and makes a cameo appearance in the Bible in Numbers 21:30 and Joshua 13:9. However, it wasn’t until the 6th and 7th centuries, under the Byzantine Empire, that it began to flourish as a center for mosaic artistry, something it is still chiefly known for today. One of the city’s most famous works is a mosaic map of this region found in the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George. It is the oldest known map of this area and is made of more than 2 million stones.
This is the church, the Basilica of Saint George:
This is the mosaic:
There are many archaeological sights in the city. This one is a church that was also built in the 6th century. It is call the Church of the Virgin Mary and was build on top of a Roman mansion that dates back even earlier:This is a mosaic depicting a Greek tragedy found in that mansion:
You can click on any of the pictures to see a larger view. Enjoy.