St. George Church Madaba
Experience Culture: Madaba

Madaba is a city that may on the offset seem less historic than modern. But, it is a city with ancient roots, mentioned two times in the Old Testament of the Bible, that can still be explored today. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on experiencing this unique part of Jordan.

As you drive to Madaba the experience begins. On the outskirts of the city, there are many family homes that have been there for generations. You’ll notice the goats and sheep wandering in the fields. The fields are either green or brown depending on when you visit. As you enter the town, you will see it full of life. People everywhere you look.

Welcome to Madaba, the city of mosaics and religious history.

Before heading out to one of the many local attractions, first, stop at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. This church has the famous map of the Holy City circa 70 AD. Not only does it depict Jerusalem, but it also depicts the areas of Palestine and the Nile delta. It is the oldest mosaic map of the Holy Land. If you just look at the tile inside, you may miss the significance. Be sure to check out the large post outside the church that explains the map.

 

Mosaic Floor in Madaba

 

As you leave the church, spend some time wandering the small tourist shops. Yes, they are touristy, but they also represent families who have been shopowners in this area for generations. These shops often have mosaic replicas of the well-known designs in Madaba, as well as many other things. The owners usually speak basic if not excellent English and they love to share about their city and country. Ask them some questions and don’t be surprised if they ask if you would like tea. 

 

In Madaba, there is also an Archeological Park where you can see more mosaics. It is easy to see why Madaba is well known for this art form.

 

Archeologocial Site Madaba

 

We don’t recommend leaving without a food break. There is a lot of food in Madaba. One of our favorites is Harat Jdoudna. It is a fantastic restaurant in an old home.

 

Orthodox Church madaba

 

When you are ready to head out, there are many different options awaiting you. Close to Madaba, you will find other attractions such as Mount Nebo, La Storia Museum, Dead Sea, Ma’in Hot Springs, Bani Hamida, Umm Ar’rasas, and the Baptism Site.

 

Enjoy your experience in Madaba!

Blog Headers2
Experience History: Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo, according to scripture, is the mountain on which the prophet Moses was shown the Promised Land before he died.

 

Located just outside of the city of Madaba, Nebo is a top attraction in Jordan due to its religious and historical significance; it boasts a large collection of ancient mosaics amongst other artifacts. If you want to experience history, this should be on your “must see” list.

 

A sculpture of Moses' staff

A sculpture of Moses’ staff

 

It’s quiet here if you are lucky enough to arrive when there are no buses of tourists, just a few others who are like you, in awe of the beautiful scenery and fresh air.

 

From the top of the mountain you can look out in all directions, onto the Baptism Site, Jerusalem, Jericho, the Dead Sea, Amman… The whole land is spread out before you, just as God showed it to Moses, only with a few more buildings!

 

IMG_2020

Looking out over the Dead Sea, towards Jericho and Jerusalem

 

There’s a fantastic renovated church at the top of the hill, filled with an impressive selection of mosaics that date back thousands of years to when the first church was established in this location.

 

Ancient mosaics in the renovated church atop Mt Nebo

Ancient mosaics in the renovated church atop Mt Nebo

 

A short walk down the Mount is the “La Storia” museum that, as the name suggests, documents history- specifically religious and Jordanian. The displays consisted of life size models, some moving and some stationary, depicting key stories from the Qur’an, Bible and Torah (such as Noah’s Ark, Moses parting the sea, and Jesus’ baptism), plus a whole section named “the village”.

 

la storia

 

This latter area is literally a large model village recreating Jordanian life as it used to be, complete with all the traditional professions, shops and a school. It is very impressive to see, and the museum guides are entertaining and knowledgeable; it is worth incorporating into your visit.

 

From Mount Nebo there are several other sites that can be included in your tour. Madaba is a historic city that is very close, the Dead Sea is a short drive and along the way you pass the Baptism Site. Also, there is Makawir, Ma’in Hot Springs, and Lot’s Cave.

 

A trip to Mount Nebo offers fascinating insight into history, religion and general Jordanian culture. We highly recommend including this great spot on your Jordan tour.