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.
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.
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.
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!