We often say that living in Jordan is like living in the Bible. “This is definitely the cradle of Christianity,” says one local guide who, by the way, is Muslim, as most of the population residing in Jordan nowadays.
Madaba, 30 kilometers southwest from the capital Amman, is a city that with a small area which brings great historical baggage. Known as the City of Mosaics, therein lies the Orthodox Church of St. George and protected by the walls of this temple is the famous Mosaic Map of the Holy Land.
A unique piece of art, and considered the oldest map and best preserved map of Holy Land, dated from sixth century AD.
Ok, this is the main attraction. But that’s it about Madaba?
You will certainly have more things to do, so you can make plans to spend a whole day there.
More religion. And mosaics.
Besides the Church of Saint George, the Church of St. John the Baptist is also an interesting tourist spot for pilgrims and lovers of history. Beyond the beautiful architecture of the temple, there you will also find the Acropolis Museum with mosaics showcases, pictures and other kind of art at the Visitors Center. Also be sure to climb the Bell Tower, which has an incredible view of the city of Madaba and its surroundings.
The large archaeological and museum complex encompasses the remains of several Byzantine churches, including mosaics of the Church of the Virgin and the Hippolytus Hall belonging to a sixth-century mansion that was destroyed by fire and an earthquake in this same period of time.
The site is a incentive to the imagination for those interested in history.
Madaba also has a number of local craft shops and mosaic factories are well worth being visited. There you can see how the pieces are manufactured and participate in workshops, understanding a job that requires attention to every single detail.
The price of the mosaics varies greatly according to size and number of pieces. In addition to the pieces on showcase, the factories accept orders and to send the tiles to your address abroad, avoiding excess baggage and risk of damage to the work.
Madaba is also a place to enjoy good and traditional Jordanian food. No doubts, the best restaurant in town is Haret Jdoudna.
Besides the delicious food and the pleasant atmosphere, this is a historic site. The building dated from 1905 was originally the home of Ibrahim Jumean, who was mayor of Madaba, a member of the Jordan army and a close friend of His Majesty King Abdullah I, who often visited the place.
Today the building gave way to one of the best and most highly recommended restaurants in the country. Rustic-looking, preserving its original architecture, while exquisite, the restaurant area is a traditional portrait of Jordan. By the way, the portraits on the walls tell the story of the place also assigning a feature of museum.
A series of menus to suit all tastes and palates. And in true Jordanian style, choosing any menu you have guaranteed bountiful table.
After eating, you can still visit the craft shop at the same location.
How about giving a relaxed after a day of discoveries? Try Madaba Turkish Bath.
You start with a shower, few minutes in the steam room, relaxing with marble stones heated, jacuzzi and finally lie down at the mercy of the masseur. If you behave nicely, you’ll be rewarded with mint tea in the comfortable lounge area.
Simple and cozy, the Mariam Hotel is one of the most recommended accomodation of Madaba.
Well located, five minutes walk from the Church of St. George, the hotel has airy rooms with air conditioning, wi-fi and the leisure area is large with pool and a terrace restaurant. The breakfast is also excellent.
Comfort and quality service for a good price.
See also: Walking Through La Storia