Like a number of sites in the region, Madaba was mentioned in the Bible. It subsequently became a Roman provincial town and had its apogee under the Byzantine Empire. It is to that era that the town owes its chief treasures – its mosaics.
The must-see site in town is the Church of St. George, now a Greek Orthodox basilica, home of the enormous Madaba Mosaic Map. The map, with its richly-detailed rendering of Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem and other holy sites, was only rediscovered in 1894 and has since been brilliantly restored.
Madaba’s biblical significance makes it an important place of pilgrimage, while it is also home to a thriving Christian community, living in harmony with the Muslim majority.