Madaba, مادبا, is the capital city of Madaba Governorate of Jordan, which has a population of about 60.000. Madaba is the fifth most populous town in Jordan. It is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of Palestine and the Nile delta. Madaba is located 30 miles south-west of the capital Amman.
During its rule by the Roman and Byzantine Empires from the second to the seventh centuries AD, the city formed part of the Provincia Arabia set up by the Roman Emperor Trajan to replace the Nabataean kingdom of Petra. During the rule of the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate, it was part of the southern Jund Filastin.
The first witness of a Christian community in the city, with its own bishop, is found in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, wherein Constantine, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bostra, the provincial capital, signed on behalf of Gaiano, "Bishop of the Medabeni."
The resettlement of the city ruins by 90 Arab Christian families from Kerak, in the south, led by two Italian priests from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1880, saw the start of archaeological research. This in turn supplemented substantially the scanty documentation available.
The mosaic Map of Madaba was discovered in 1896; the findings were published a year later. This discovery drew the city to the attention of scholars worldwide. It also positively influenced the inhabitants who shared the contagious passion of F. Giuseppe Manfredi to whose efforts we owe the discovery of most of the mosaics in the city. Madaba became the "City of Mosaics" in Jordan.
The northern part of the city turned out to be the area containing the greatest concentration of mosaic monuments. During the Byzantine-Umayyad period, this northern area, crossed by a colonnaded Roman road, saw the building of the Church of the Map, the Hippolytus Mansion, the Church of the Virgin Mary, the Church of Prophet Elijah with its crypt, the Church of the Holy Martyrs (Al-Khadir), the Burnt Palace and the Church of the Sunna' family.
The Madaba Mosaic Map is an index map of the region, dating from the sixth century CE, preserved in the floor of the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George. With two million pieces of colored stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns in Palestine and the Nile Delta. The mosaic contains the earliest extant representation of Byzantine Jerusalem, labeled the "Holy City." The map provides important details as to its 6th century landmarks, with the cardo, or central colonnaded street and the Holy Sepulchre clearly visible. This map is one key in developing scholarly knowledge about the physical layout of Jerusalem after its destruction and rebuilding in AD 70.
Other mosaic masterpieces found in the church of the Virgin and the Apostles and the Archaeological Museum, depict a profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Hundred of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba's.
Snowbird writes first novel to refute 'The DaVinci Code': ?The Map of Madaba' was released by Capricorn Publishing.
Jul 05, 2006; Byline: Fraser Sherman Jul. 5--The best-selling novel "The DaVinci Code" turned Christian history on its head, and retired...