Madaba and its hinterlands were repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament. Then it was known as Medeba and it featured in narratives related to Moses and the Exodus, David’s war against the Moabites, Isaiah’s oracle against Moab and King Mesha of Moab’s rebellion against Israel.
Between the 4th and 7th centuries AD, the prosperous ecclesiastical centre of Madaba produced one of the world’s finest collections of Byzantine mosaics, many fine examples of which are well preserved. Several church floor mosaics can be seen in their original locations, while other have been moved for protection and displayed in the Madaba Archaeological Park.
Madaba’s real masterpiece, in the Orthodox Church of Saint George, is the 6th century AD mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land – the earliest religious map of the Holy Land in any form to survive from antiquity.