Madaba is a pleasant, relaxed, tolerant and easy-going little town well known for its Byzantine mosaics and being the most Christian town in Jordan. The citizens of Madaba are proud of their Christian heritage, and they are proud of the tolerance between both Christians and Muslims in the city. 

The city is the perfect location for exploring the holy sites nearby, and also Jordan as a whole, with many of the great sites of the country within easy reach. Mount Nebo, where Moses is believed to have seen the Holy Land for the first time, is just twenty minutes' drive away, and Bethany, where Jesus is believed to have been baptized, is not much further . It is easy to reach all of these places by public transport or by reasonably priced taxis. 
 
The best known site in Madaba is the Mosaic map which lies in St George’s Church. This Greek Orthodox church was built on the site of a much larger church dating to Byzantine times. Unearthed during construction of the new church in 1896, the mosaic was once a clear map with 157 captions (in Greek) of all major biblical sites from Lebanon to Egypt. What you see there today is less than a third of the original mosaic which measured over 16m long by 6m wide and which depicted most of the present day Near East from Lebanon to the Nile Delta and from the Mediterranean to the eastern desert of Jordan. It dates from the sixth century and besides decorating the church was probably intended to help pilgrims making their way from one holy site to another. St George's Church is, of course, a modern church, and the original Byzantine building was much larger. This mosaic must have taken years to make.
 
Many of the sites discovered recently were found after archaeologists explored the indications given on the map. The most notable example is the Baptism site of Bethany which was an important destination for pilgrims.
 

If you are wondering what (countries) to set your sights on in 2012, we are recommending you JORDAN a fascinating travel...
     
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