Wow. Madaba. Thanks for an amazing day. I wish I could have spent more time with you and I’m sorry that I didn’t.
We came from the Movenpick at the Dead Sea, a “made-of-money” Western environment to swim in salt and wallow in expensive mud. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I can afford this stuff and I had a great time but Madaba, you brought something special.
Madaba – thank you for letting me walk on top of really ancient historically important maps.
The Madaba mosaic map is an ancient depiction of the Middle East, built between 542 and 570 AD. It covers the area from Lebanon in the north to the Nile Delta in the south, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Eastern desert. The images in the mosaic map have proved extremely helpful in locating and understanding more about places written about in literature of the day. The image below highlights some of the key locations on the map.
From the Madaba Mosaic, we wandered through the Madaba Museum. Situated across three sites, we first visited the Hippolytus Hall where the Church of the Virgin hides mosaics from an ancient mansion which in turn hides a Roman temple. Then we were taken through the historical museum by the brilliant owner who used his broken English to help us understand the artefacts inside. Later, we realised the museum was actually closed.
On the way to the third site, we stopped in for a visit to the local mosque – The Mosque of Jesus Christ – and to the church recognised as the shrine to the Beheading of St John the Baptist.
Our final stop – much later than the museum opening hours – was to the Apostles Church on the outskirts of the central Madaba district. The mosaic on the floor of this church was simply incredible. Nothing to look at initially, a bit of water highlighted the bright colours and intricate designs of the mosaic that sweeps the entire floor of the church.
With the day almost over, we returned to our hotel – the delightful Mariam Hotel – for a bite to eat and the chance to finally try the Jordanian drink – Arak. Won’t be doing that again! It tastes somewhat like someone has mixed ouzo and whisky in the same glass, added water and ice and presented it on the counter to you.
So, cheers to the east meets west culture in Madaba and heres to the incredible sights and friendly people of Jordan! An amazing place, one of my favourites so far. Til next time.