Madaba draws the magic of Islamic and Christian civilization from its lands and opens a window for you to take a step back into history. The town has a long story behind it, being first mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 21 at the time of the Exodus, about 1300 BC. It appears again in the list of the towns divided among the tribes in Joshua 13:9 when it was given to Ruben. Madaba was subsequently alluded to in the Mesha Stella, now being permanently exhibited in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The Roman conversion to Christianity gave Madaba a new lease of life, and saw it enter its most affluent era. Grand provincial buildings were constructed. Colonnaded streets and other features such as the vast reservoir were built on instructions of Emperor Justinian, on the north side of the community. In the 6th century AD bishops were assigned to Madaba, and buildings of religious importance were begun. Under the Umayyads, the city continued to flourish and the Church of the Virgin Mary in the Madaba Park and the Church of Ma’in were renovated. The town was probably abandoned during the ninth century and the pottery evidence shows some human activity in the area during the Ayyubid, Mamluk and the Ottoman Period.
In 1890, the greatest, and most significant of all the city’s treasures was unearthed: the Mosaic Map of the Holy Land. The find was hailed as the oldest map in existence, and is located on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George.
In west Madaba, you will see some spectacular views of the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum. The elevation of Madaba also allows you to see Musa’s Water spring. It is also close to Madaba, only 158 miles which is equal to 225km.
Nebo Mountain has brilliant unrivalled art that will capture your imagination. Ancient intricate preserved mosaics were left by the Byzantines in Madaba’s churches.
Tourists can buy souvenirs of mosaic or Nebo Mountain or carpets that have pictures of mosaic. Some places sell framed mosaic pictures or tables with mosaics.