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Educational Reference

The Madaba Map

In December 1876, at Madaba (Medeba), during the excavation of one of the 6th Century AD churches found there, a mosaic map was discovered. The map was of Palestine, encompassing the area from Beth-shan to the Nile river in Egypt and from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Arabian desert in the east. What is significant about it, is that it is the earliest extant map of Palestine known today.

The map is now housed in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George that was built over the remains of the Byzantine church. The map is about 20 by 5 meters in size and was made from more than 2 million tesserae. The map is oriented to the east and the more than 150 captions are written in Greek.

The centerpiece of this map is the walled city of Jerusalem. It is represented by its walls, gates, street and principle buildings. The cardo (main north/south street) running from a plaza with a single column, and two other streets can be seen. Dominating the city is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The image below shows the Jerusalem portion of this map.

Madaba Map


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