Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Madaba Map

On the way to Mount Nebo, we stopped at the Greek Orthodox church of St. George in Madaba, Jordan to see the remains of a Byzantine mosaic floor. It is the earliest surviving cartographic map of 6th century Palestine and covers the area from Northern Lebanon to the Nile Delta.  We had a hard time deciphering the labels since they are in Greek, but a local man who saw our interest walked over and pointed out the cities of Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.  It all started to make sense.  I love the fish flowing into Jordan from the Dead Sea.

Historians do not know who created it, but think it was made by several members of an early Christian community living in Madaba at the time.  For someone like me who loves pouring over maps, this was a true highlight of my visit to Jordan.

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