Madaba

Jordan’s charming city of Madaba has a history that goes back to at least 3500 years. Madaba is considered to be one of the most impressive places in the Holy Land and has been named the ‘City of Mosaics’. It is situated 30 kilometers southwest of the capital city of Amman along the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway. Best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, Madaba is home to the famous 6th century Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of vividly coloured local stone, it depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.


Madaba is famous for its beautiful Byzantine and Ummayad mosaics and its most outstanding masterpiece is the 6th century AD Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land – the earliest sacred map found inside the Orthodox Church of St. George. 

In the Holy Bible, Madaba was known as Moabite town of Medaba, and is mentioned in the Old Testament account of Moses and the Exodus (Numbers 21: 30). 


David also vanquished an Ammonite and Aramean coalition near Madaba (I Chronicles 19: 7). His victory was short-lived, however, as in the mid-ninth century BCE the Moabite King Mesha freed the city from the control of the Israelites (2 Kings 3). Mesha, whose capital was the ancient city of Dibon (now called Dhiban, and located just north of Wadi Mujib), recorded his victories on the famous Mesha Stele, an inscribed stone set up in about 850 BCE. The rich farmlands around Madaba were coveted and fought over by the Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Israelites and other local kingdoms.  




“So their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon (Al-Mujib), and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland by Medeba…And the border of the people of Reuben was the Jordan as a boundary. This was the inheritance of the people of Reuben, according to their clans with their cities and villages.” (Joshua 13:16-23). 


 The book of Joshua mentions that Madaba and its neighboring areas were assigned to Jacob’s eldest son with Leah; Reuben: “So their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon (Al-Mujib),and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland by Medeba…And the border of the people of Reuben was the Jordan as a boundary. This was the inheritance of the people of Reuben, according to their clans with their cities and villages.” (Joshua 13:16-23)


What to see:

St George’s Church 

Church of the Apostles

Madaba Archeological Museum

Madaba Archeological Park

Iron Age Fortification Wall on West Acropolis

Dolmens at Al Fayha