Fourth Century Roman Church
During the Byzantine period, a great deal of construction took place throughout Jordan. All of the major cities of the Roman era continued to flourish as the regional population grew. As Christianity expanded across this region in the fourth century, churches began to sprout up across Jordan.
From this growing Christian scene came one of the most exciting discoveries in recent times, where archaeologists in Aqaba have unearthed what they believe to be the world’s oldest church, from the late 3rd Century AD. It is slightly older than the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, both of which date back to the 4th Century. It has since been back-filled with earth for protection.
Aqaba church, a mud-brick building with traces of “dipinto” that could have represented a procession of figures, would be slightly more ancient than any of the known public meeting church buildings. It is also unique because of it subsequent history.