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Madaba

Madaba

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Madaba is the capital city of Madaba Governorate
Madaba Governorate
Madaba, is one of the governorates of Jordan, it is located south west of Amman, capital of Jordan. Its capital is Madaba. The governorate is ranked eighth by population and by area in Jordan...

 of Jordan, which has a population of about 60,000. Madaba is the fifth most populous town in Jordan. It is best known for its Byzantine
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 and Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of The Holy Land. Madaba is located 30 kilometers south-west of the capital Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

.

History



Madaba has a very long history stretching from the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 period. The town of Madaba was once a Moabite
Moabite
Moabite may refer to:*a person from Moab, the former country of the Moabite people, currently located in the area of Jordan east of the Dead Sea*the Moabite language, an extinct Canaanite dialect once spoken in Moab...

 border city, mentioned in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 in Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 21:30 and Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

 13:9. Madaba dates from the Middle Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

.

During its rule by the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Empires from the second to the seventh centuries AD, the city formed part of the Provincia Arabia
Arabia Petraea
Arabia Petraea, also called Provincia Arabia or simply Arabia, was a frontier province of the Roman Empire beginning in the 2nd century; it consisted of the former Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, southern modern Syria, the Sinai Peninsula and northwestern Saudi Arabia. Its capital was Petra...

 set up by the Roman Emperor Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 to replace the Nabataean kingdom of Petra
Petra
Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited...

. During the rule of the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate, it was part of the southern Jund Filastin
Jund Filastin
Jund Filastin was one of several sub-provinces of the Ummayad and Abbasid Caliphate province of Syria, organized soon after the Muslim conquest of Syria in the seventh century. According to al-Biladhuri, the main towns in the district at its capture by the Rashidun Caliphate, were Gaza, Sebastiya,...

.

The first witness of a Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 community in the city, with its own bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, is found in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

 in 451, wherein Constantine, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bostra (the provincial capital) signed on behalf of Gaiano, "Bishop of the Medabeni."

The resettlement of the city ruins by 90 Arab Christian families from Kerak
Kerak
Kerak Castle is a large crusader castle located in Kerak in Jordan. It is one of the largest crusader castles in the Levant.Construction of the castle began in the 1140s, under Pagan, the butler of Fulk of Jerusalem. The Crusaders called it Crac des Moabites or "Karak in Moab", as it is frequently...

, in the south, led by two Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 priests from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1880, saw the start of archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 research. This in turn substantially supplemented the scant documentation available.

Archaeological finds in Madaba city


The first mosaics were discovered purely by chance during the building of the new permanent dwellings using squared-up stones from the old monuments. The new inhabitants of Madaba, made conscious of the importance of the mosaics by their priests, made sure that they took care of and preserved all the mosaics that came to light.

The Map of Madaba mosaic was discovered in 1896 and the findings were published a year later. This discovery drew the attention of scholars worldwide. It also positively influenced the inhabitants, who shared the contagious passion of F. Giuseppe Manfredi, to whom the rediscovery of most of the city's mosaics are owed. Madaba became known as the "City of Mosaics" in Jordan.

The northern part of the city turned out to be the area containing the greatest concentration of mosaic monuments. During the Byzantine-Umayyad period, this northern area, crossed by a colonnaded Roman road
Roman road
The Roman roads were a vital part of the development of the Roman state, from about 500 BC through the expansion during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Roman roads enabled the Romans to move armies and trade goods and to communicate. The Roman road system spanned more than 400,000 km...

, saw the building of the Church of the Map, the Hippolytus Mansion, the Church of the Virgin Mary, the Church of Prophet Elijah with its crypt, the Church of the Holy Martyrs (Al-Khadir), the Burnt Palace and the Church of the Sunna' family.

The Madaba Mosaic Map is an index map of the region, dating from the sixth century AD, preserved in the floor of the Greek Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 Basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 of Saint George
Saint George
Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

. With two million pieces of colored stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns in Palestine and the Nile Delta. The mosaic contains the earliest extant representation of Byzantine Jerusalem, labeled the "Holy City." The map provides important details as to its 6th century landmarks, with the cardo
Cardo
The cardo was a north-south oriented street in Roman cities, military camps, and coloniae. The cardo, an integral component of city planning, was lined with shops and vendors, and served as a hub of economic life. The main cardo was called cardo maximus.Most Roman cities also had a Decumanus...

, or central colonnaded street and the Holy Sepulchre clearly visible. This map is one key in developing scholarly knowledge about the physical layout of Jerusalem after its destruction and rebuilding in 70 AD.

Other mosaic masterpieces found in the Church of the Virgin and the Apostles and the Archaeological Museum, depict a profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Hundred of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba.

The University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 has been excavating in Madaba from 1996 until the present. Their efforts have focused primarily on the west acropolis where an open field has allowed access to uncover the entire sequence of occupation at Madaba from the modern period down to the Early Bronze Age levels. The most visible feature of this area is a 7.5 meter wide fortification wall built sometime in the 9th C. BC, with subsequent rebuilds throughout its history. There is also the remains of a well preserved Byzantine era house at the base of the fortification wall.

In 2010, a 3,000-year-old Iron Age temple containing several figurines of ancient deities and circular clay vessels used in Moab
Moab
Moab is the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan. The land lies alongside much of the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The existence of the Kingdom of Moab is attested to by numerous archeological findings, most notably the Mesha Stele, which describes the Moabite victory over...

ite religious rituals was discovered at Khirbat 'Ataroz near Mabada.

Hammamat Ma'in



Since the days of Rome, people have come to the thermal mineral springs of Hammamat Ma'in or Zarqa Ma'in for thermal treatments - or simply to enjoy a hot soak. After all, what better way to end a day immersed in history than in a wonderful, naturally warm bath?

Southwest of Madaba is Hammamat Ma’in, the thermal mineral springs that for centuries have attracted people to come and immerse themselves in the sites’ warm therapeutic waters. There is an excellent 5-star hotel operated by the well known Six Senses group here, which offers indoor and natural outdoor hot pools, a swimming pool and spa facilities.

Institute of Mosaic Art and Restoration
The Institute was originally created in 1992 as the Madaba Mosaic School, and funded by the Italian Government. It was a high school which offered the Tawjili, the Jordanian equivalent of a high school diploma.

In 2007, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, under the Department of Antiquities partnered with USAID's Siyaha tourism development project, and a rejuvenated Italian commitment to launch the Institute as a 2 year, post-Tawjili program.
The aim of the Institute is to be a center of excellence in the region, and to train locals on a scientific level to conserve and restore the many ancient mosaics found in Jordan. Students are also taught traditional and modern methods of mosaic production, as well as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Arabic, English, geology, and chemistry. Soon, students will also be able to transfer their credits to Al Yarmok University to complete a BA in Archegology with a further two years of study.

The Institute is located between the Madaba Visitors Center and the Madaba Archeological Park. Visitors are welcome to explore the school grounds and the workshop from 8am - 2pm Sunday thru Thursday. The school is currently working on putting together a website (http:www.imar.edu.jo) which should be operational in early 2010. Further, a short 2-3 hour course aimed at tourists should be available in early spring 2010.

Bani Hamida


A weaving project was started by twelve women of the tribe in 1985 and since then Bani Hamida
Bani Hamida
The Bani Hamida were a pastoral-nomadic clan that controlled a land East of the Dead Sea before the establishment of the emirate of Jordan. They were clients of the Beni Sakhr....

 has become famed for producing beautiful woven items in traditionally bright colors. Traditional ground looms, assembled using stones and sticks, are used for the weaving, and the products can be found at numerous outlets in Jordan and abroad. Visitors can stop by the weaving rooms, located in the village of Mukawir, to see how rugs are made. The women also make decorative candles.

New developments


Madaba has been chosen to house new universities and a new settlement operation not far from the historic city will house over 600 villas. Kuwaiti corporations are now funding the construction of new office buildings to be built in Madaba.

International relations



Twin towns - Sister cities


Madaba is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

, Palestinian Authority  Denton, Texas
Denton, Texas
The city of Denton is the county seat of Denton County, Texas in the United States. Its population was 119,454 according to the 2010 U.S. Census, making it the eleventh largest city in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


External links