Mosaics in Madaba
Abstract: Madaba is known as the city of mosaics. Explore the art that identifies this Christian city located in central Jordan, just a 25 minute drive from the western border with Israel.
Madaba is a small town located southwest of Amman. It is about a 45-minute drive from the city. I was fortunate enough to visit the city twice. Madaba has a high Christian population, which is unusual for Jordan because Christians are only 5% of the total population. It is also known for its mosaics. The old churches, ruins and the Madaba School for Mosaics are the pride and joy of the town of Madaba. I know some of you did a little bit of research about Madaba so this post is to supplement information that you may already have.
Local Time: 6:00PM
Time Zone: +4 (7 hours ahead of the New York)
Location (Latitude, Longitude): 31.7167° N, 35.8000° E
How far did I travel this week? My first trip to Madaba consisted of visiting the city for a few hours. Then, we went to the Hot Springs in Ma’an, which were about a 20-minute drive away on a curvy road out of Madaba. My second trip involved visiting Mount Nebo, ten minutes away. Mount Nebo is the place where Christians believe God sent Moses to die. It is a very religious site and it’s very breathtaking.
How far have I traveled on your journey so far? As this is the end of my journey, I have traveled all around Jordan. I have visited Ajloun, Jerash, Madaba, Aqaba, the Dead Sea, the Baptism Site, Mount Nebo, Wadi Rum, Petra, Um Qais, Um Al-Rasas, Al-Mufraq, the Red Sea and the Saudi Arabian border.
How did I get around this week? You can get to Madaba by car or bus. The bus leaves from Amman and only costs 80 qirsh. Can you remember how much this would be worth in US Dollars? Once you’re in Madaba, you can easily walk around. If necessary, there are taxis but the popular sites are close enough that you can walk without difficulty.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? My favorite place inside Madaba was one of the archeological sites that includes old churches with mosaic floors and a burnt palace made from stone. The mosaics were very intricate and I was in awe of the artwork. I couldn’t imagine putting a whole floor together with a design when each piece is only a centimeter long.
Other travel news: (short story about what happened this week):
When we were driving from Madaba to the Dead Sea, we had to stop the car for sheep crossing. There were so many sheep that all decided to cross the road at the same time and we couldn’t drive!
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 0
What is the air temperature right now? 86
How was the weather this week? My first trip to Madaba was in January, when the temperature was still around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was also cloudy and slightly rainy. My second trip, however, was near the end of April and the weather was quite warm. It was very sunny but also very windy. The springtime in Jordan is known as the khamseen, or 50, because there is a period of 50 days when it is really windy.
What animals did I see this week? Can you guess what animal I saw this week? If you said a cat, you would be correct! Cats are everywhere in Madaba, just like they are in Amman.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? The coolest thing I saw during my second visit to Madaba was a camel. Camels are pretty common, but this one caught my eye because he (or she) was all alone. It made me wonder if camels ever get lonely. What do you think?
What languages are spoken here? People in Madaba speak Arabic, but their dialect or accent is different from the Arabic found in the city. Words are spelled the same, but they are pronounced slightly different. The word daqiqa might be pronounced da-i-uh. You have to know that there are variations of the same word so you can understand everyone outside of Amman.
What type of money is used here? They use the Jordanian Dinar, the same currency for the country. Just like we have presidents or Founding Fathers on our money, they have their kings on their money. On the back, they have important places, such as the Ma’an Palace or the First Jordanian Parliament Building. On the back of the 20 Dinar note, there is the Dome of the Rock, which is a mosque located in Jerusalem. This shows how Jordan used to consist of a larger area that included where Jerusalem is today.
Other news from this week:
When we visited one of the archeological sites, we also visited a small shop that sold mosaics. The shop also doubled as a school where people could take classes to learn how to make mosaics. Today, there are two ways to make mosaics. One of the ways is the traditional way, which means cutting the stone into small pieces and using cement to stick them together. The finished product is quite heavy but looks amazing. The second way is more modern. It uses glue and takes less time to finish a mosaic. The mosaic is also flexible but it won’t fall apart. I thought it was really cool and am very amazed by how creative people are. Are you creative?