Travelstick Madaba Jordan
Most of the main attractions in Madaba are located close together in the town center along with a fairly large selection of hotels and restaurants. For cheaper eating options head back to the main road by the bus station.
Spring of Moses Jordan
The Spring of Moses (Ayoun Musa) is one of two possible sites in Jordan where Moses, according to the bible, struck a rock with his staff and created a spring. The spot is recognisable by the six great eucalyptus trees that grow above it. Beneath the overhanging cliff a tiny spring of clear water bubbles up from the rocks.
To walk to the spring take the road to the right about 1 km before Mount Nebo church. The road winds down for about 2 km and is fairly steep in places. Near the bottom, at a junction in the road, look out for the grove of tall eucalyptus tree beside an abandoned concrete building.
Entrance free (2020)
Mount Nebo Jordan
Mount Nebo is one of Jordan's most important Christian Holy Sites. It is at this spot where Moses is believed to have first seen the Promised Land, the land that he would never enter. Moses died shortly afterwards and was buried close by, although the exact location of his grave is unknown. There are also legends that say that the Ark of the Covenant was hidden somewhere at the foot of the mountain.
In the 4th century, early Christians turned the old building on the highest part of the mountain into a church to mark the resting place of Moses. In the 6th century the church was expanded into a basilica. Excavations led by the Franciscans, who own the site nowadays, uncovered the remains of the church including its Byzantine mosaics. A simple modern church dedicated to Moses stands on the spot today with the ancient tiled floors of the basilica on display inside. From the lookout point beyond the church there is a panoramic view of the Promised Land, the same view that Moses would have seen.
Mount Nebo is located 9 km from Madaba. No public buses run there. Your options are private taxis or a long uphill walk (if you are lucky you may hitch a lift).
Entrance 2JD (2020)
Saint George Church Jordan
St Georges is one of the main attractions in Madaba, housing a unique byzantine mosaic depicting one of the oldest known maps of the holy land. The church itself was built in 1884 which was when the remains of the old byzantine church and the mosaic were discovered. Although only about a third of the map has survived it would have originally covered an area of more than 15.5 m by 5.5 m, with a geographic range stretching from Lebanon in the north to the Nile delta in the south. Unlike modern maps, which face north at the top, the Madaba mosaic is orientated to the east, with the Jordan River flowing from left to right. The map depicts around 150 locations, each labelled with inscriptions in Greek. However the focal point is a detailed depiction of the city of Jerusalem complete with walls, gates, main streets and 36 specific buildings represented.
Entrance 2JD (2020)
Archaeological sites Madaba
The Church of the Virgin was built in the 6th century and was discovered in 1887 under the floor of a Madaba house. The tiled floor features an intricate geometric design. Beside the church is the Hippolytus hall which was once a 6th century Byzantine villa. The mosaic floor depicts hunting and pastoral scenes with personifications of the four seasons in each corner. The central panels depicts the Greek tragedy of Phaedra and Hippolytus and in another panel Aphrodite sits on a throne next to Adonis. The Church of the Prophet Elias has some small but interesting mosaics. Also on the site are the remains of a Roman road.
Burnt Palace and Martyr's Church
This smaller site contains the remains of a mosaic which once depicted hunting scenes and animals. However most of the figures have been cut around and removed after a ban by Emperor Leo on the depiction of human and animal forms.
Church of the Apostles
This church contains a large and relatively intact mosaic with the central circle showing a depiction of a female personification of the sea.
This small museum contains several more examples of mosaic floors as well as a few other artifacts and a folklore section.
All of these sites are included in one ticket 3JD (2020)