Church of Saint George at Madaba

Madaba, Madaba, Jordan

About Church of Saint George at Madaba

This early Byzantine church in Madaba, Jordan holds the famous Madaba Map of the Middle East; a floor mosaic dating back to the 6th century AD depicting an area from Lebanon to the Nile Delta, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Eastern Desert. It is the oldest known geographic floor mosaic in art history.

Most probably made by the Christian community of Madaba, it contains cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem which is the largest and most detailed part in the center of the map. It faces east towards the altar which coincides with the actual compass directions of locations.

After conquests and earthquakes, the mosaic was rediscovered in 1884, during the construction of a new Greek Orthodox church and underwent restoration by the Volkswagen Foundation in the 1960s.

In 1967, excavations in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem revealed the Nea Church and the Cardo Maximus in the exact locations depicted by the Madaba Map. In 2010, the discovery of a road running through the center of Jerusalem as shown on the map again proved its accuracy and priceless value for the archaeologists.

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