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The Mosaic Map of Madaba, Jordan

It was the Christian vision of continuity and completeness that inspired the mosaic artists and craftsmen of the area to make the Mosaic Map of Madaba, which was considered a guideline for establishing geographic regions and borders.

This famous mosaic was designed in around 570 AD to decorate the floor of a Byzantine church in Madaba. Actually, it is more than a geographic text of that era, showing the entire region from Jordan and Palestine in the north, to Egypt in the south, and depicting in picture form: plains, hills, valleys, villages, and many towns and cities, complete with walls and pitched re-roofed houses, while in the Nile huge fish swim.

Plan of Jerusalem in the Mosaic Map of Madaba

It includes a fascinating plan of the holy city of Jerusalem placed at the center of the redeemed acumen: on the left is the north gate from which two colonnaded streets run south. On the straight street through the heart of the city stands the domed Holy Sepulcher. Clearly inscribed above the north and east gates is the legend "Holy City of Jerusalem".

Today this splendid map is housed in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, which was built in 1896 over the remains of the original Byzantine Church. Only part of the map has been preserved. It originally measured a staggering 25 x 5 meters and was made of more than 2 million pieces of colored stone tesserae.
 

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