Madaba is a small town some 30 kilometres southwest of Amman. It was an important ecclesiastical centre in Byzantine times and many mosaics remain from this era. The Greek Orthodox Church of St. George contains Madaba's most famous example - the superb mosaic map of Palestine. Clearly visible on the map are Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, Nablus, Hebron, Jericho, Egypt and the Nile River, Turkey and Lebanon. The mosaic was made around 560 AD, originally composed of over 2.3 million pieces, and measured a staggering 25 by 5 metres.
MADABA - more than just the map!
Most tourists visit Madaba to make the short visit to St George's Church to see the historic mosaic map, but this small market town with its narrow streets dotted with elegant old Ottoman stone houses has much more to offer (especially mosaics!) and some visitors use Madaba as an alternative base to the capital - after all, it's only 18km from Amman's Queen Alia International Airport.
The Archaeological Park
This houses more superb mosaics, some of the best in Jordan, including one taken from Herod's Palace at Mukawir. The Hippolytus Hall mosaic (6th century, probably from the reign of Justinian, pictured left) is also not to be missed, and there are further excellent mosaics in the adjoining Church of the Virgin.
The Madaba Museum
More mosaics are to be found in the small museum just off Nuzha Street siuthwest of the town centre. It's also worth climbing the stairs to a rooftop courtyard for a panoramic view over the town and surrounding countryside.
Madaba also has a number of local craft shops and mosaic factories where you can how the pieces are manufactured. You can even participate in workshops, understanding a job that requires attention to every single detail.
Madaba is also a place to enjoy good and traditional Jordanian food. The town hosts one of the most highly recommended restaurants in the country - the excellent Haret Jdoudna Restaurant, housed in a historic building dating from 1905, which serves menus to suit all tastes.
There are no five star hotels in Madaba, but many World Discovery passengers have enjoyed staying in the 4 star Mariam Hotel - a very friendly, family-run hotel offering 57 comfortable ensuite rooms. As World Discovery specialises in tailor-made holidays, we can incorporate a stay in Madaba on any of the Jordan holidays shown on the website