We were on our way to Mount Nebo and after driving for 30 kilometres south west of Amman, along the 5,000-year-old Kings Highway, we arrived at one of the most memorable places in the Holy Land.We had passed through a string of ancient sites, before we arrived in Madaba, known as the “City of Mosaics.” 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.
The Madaba Mosaic Map covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, which is located northwest of the city centre. The church was built in 1896 AD, over the remains of a much earlier 6th century Byzantine church. The mosaic panel enclosing the Map was originally around 15.6 x 6 metres, 94 square metres, unfortunately only about a quarter of it is preserved.
There are ther mosaic masterpieces to be found in the Church of the Virgin and the Apostles and in the Archaeological Museum, which depict a rampant profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and the everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Literally, hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba’s churches and homes.
Photograph taken with Nikon D100 & 12-24mm lens at 12mm on 26th April 2008