Madaba Maps

Dating to the 6th century AD, the Madaba Map is Well preserved and interesting mosaic of the biblical world, and part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of Jerusalem

Madaba, Jordan

Coordinates: 31.719231, 35.797757

The Madaba Map, also known as the Madaba Mosaic Map, is part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan.

Madaba is the capital city of Madaba Governorate in central Jordan, with a population of about 60,000. It is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of the Holy Land.

Madaba is located 30 kilometres (19 miles) south-west of the capital Amman.

The town was once a Moabite border city, mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 21:30 and Joshua 13:9.

During the rule of the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate, it was part of the southern district of Jund Filastin within the Bilad al-Sham province.

The mosaic was made by unknown artists, probably for the Christian community of Madaba, which was the seat of a bishop at that time.

In 614, Madaba was conquered by the Sasanian Empire. In the eighth century, the ruling Muslim Umayyad Caliphate had some figural motifs removed from the mosaic.

In 746, Madaba was largely destroyed by an earthquake and subsequently abandoned.

A little over half of the map has survived the passage of time, negligence and purposeful defacing. But, thanks to a 1965 restoration effort, enough remains to take your breath away. The largest and most detailed element is Jerusalem, at the center. The map has even been used in recent times to authenticate Biblical geographic accounts. All the notations are in Greek.

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Must-see site in Madaba

Spend time at the introductory map room to see the full view of this map before entering the church. Not a big area remains but definitely important and memorable to see how this place was viewed in the 6th century.

If you want to see more of these mosaic, there is a nearby mosaic workshop down the street from Mount Nebo.