Photo of the Week – Madaba, Jordan

Madaba, Jordan


Madaba, an ancient city in Jordan is first mentioned in the Bible as “Medeba” in Numbers 21:30 and many other references follow, mostly in the Old Testament. As a city, Madaba was a subject of many wars as kingdoms fought each other to occupy it. It exchanged hands every other time, going from one conqueror’s hand to another. In 747 AD, an earthquake reduced the city to rubble, and the city was abandoned until the 1880’s when it was settled by Christians fleeing from southern Jordan.

Madaba is called the City of Mosaics due to the many depictions of mythology, daily life, wildlife and plants and floors in many places within the city. It is home to the Madaba Map, which residents discovered after clearing out rubble from an old church.  The map is a mosaic of almost two million colored stones, which accurately depict the Middle East, and whose artists are unknown. The map is astonishingly detailed, featuring lions, rivers, mountains and livestock. It is the most famous mosaic in the city.

Within the area is Mt. Nebo, the mountain where the Biblical figure Moses lived out his remaining days and got views of the Promised Land. At the peak, you get vivid panoramas of the Dead Sea, River Jordan, and if the weather is clear, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Madaba is an amazing place steeped in rich history, friendly people and mosaic magic.