Jordan and Mosaic

Mosaics of Transjordan date between the 1st century and the eighth century AD.


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Madaba of Jordan was an important town at the beginning of the Christian era, and had its own bishop. Imposing churches were built there, including the Cathedral, the Church of the Apostles, the Church of the Virgin and the Church of St Elianos as well as St George's (the famous "Church of the Map"). All of these churches were copiously decorated with mosaics, the finest dating from the sixth and seventh centuries AD. Because of the iconoclasts, few remain and many of those in poor condition.


Mount Nebo (close to Madaba) usually means the Moses Memorial Church and the viewpoint from outside it. The church is a simple one nowadays, but in the sixth century it was the church for a important monastery with all that this implies. In particular, the floor was covered with mosaics of different periods.


Um Al Rasas (pronounced "Um Ar Rasas and often spelt this way) has been identified as the site of a Roman garrison town called Kastron Mefaa, which subsequently became a prosperous city during the Byzantine/Omayed period. A very important mosaic was discovered in the Church of St Stephen there, which dates to 785AD or well after the Moslem religion was established in the Middle East. The mosaic depicts beautiful scenes of hunting, agricultural and pastoral life surrounded by a geographical border showing cities of Jordan, Palestine and of Egypt.

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