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St George's Church

Talal Street, Madaba
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St George's Church

The town of Madaba, a short drive south of Amman is home to one of the country's largest Christian communities, and has several impressive churches. Of these, the most interesting is the Greek Orthodox St George's Church.

The church was only built at the end of the 19th century, but during construction workers uncovered one of the most important surviving artistic relics of the Byzantine era – the Madaba Mosaic Map. Laid out by artisans in the 6th century, it was once an intricate map of holy land sites covering modern-day Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories, plus Egypt's Sinai. Today only a quarter survives on the floor of the church, but even this fragment shows astounding detail, covering Jerusalem, the Dead Sea area, and a small portion of the Sinai. Look for the fish swimming in the Jordan river, the walls and gates of Jerusalem, Mount Sinai and even the Nile delta.

There is an excellent exhibition next to the church to help you get the best out of viewing the mosaic.