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 Mount Nebo - P.O.Box 2 Faysaliyah - 17196 Madaba - JORDAN - eMail:


7 - 9 April 1997

The Madaba Map Centenary
Under the Patronage of H.R.H. The Crown Prince Al-Hassan Bin Talal

1897 - 1997
Travelling through the Byzantine-Ummayad Period

The discovery in a sixth century church and the publication of the mosaic Map of the biblical lands in 1896/7, brought Madaba, at the time a small dusty village in the plateau of Moab south of Amman, to international fame.

A hundred year old event which has not yet exhausted either the interest in it or its historic-geographic potential.

The Map is a true geographic map of Palestine-Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Sinai and Egypt. All other maps which have survived from antiquity can only be classified as sketches by comparison. The Map was first discovered and valued not by professional scholars but by the masons and workers who, in 1896 were building the new Greek-orthodox church on the ruins of a Byzantine church in the northern part of Madaba.

It was only Abuna Kleofas Kikilides who realized the true significance, for the history of the region, that the Map had, visiting Madaba in December 1896. A Franciscan friar born in Constantinople, Fr. Girolamo Golubovich, helped Abuna Kleofas to print a booklet in Greek about the Map at the Franciscan Printing Press of Jerusalem in March 1897. Immediately afterwards the Revue Biblique published a long and detailed historic-geographic study of the Map by the Dominican fathers M.- J. Lagrange and H. Vincent after visiting the monument themselves. At the same time father J. Germer-Durand of the Assumptionist Fathers published a photographic album whith his own pictures of the Map. In Paris C. Clermont-Ganneau, a well known orientalist scholar, announced the discovery at the Academie des Sciences et Belles Lettres.

The fame of the Madaba Map was more than merited even though only one fourth of the original mosaic had survived. The depiction of the territory is rendered with such pictorial realism that it is easily recognised. The pattern moves around the central axes formed by the River Jordan and the dead Sea basin with the montanainous plateau to the east of the sea. The map reaches its pictorial figurative apex with the depiction of Jerusalem which in a sense is the ideal centre of the whole composition with a clear theological meaning making the city the centre and heart of the ecumene. The almost 150 location names which accompany the localities depicted in the Map makes of it an historic document of primary importance for historic-biblical geography

Madaba Map - Navigation

Madaba & Map Main Page
Madaba the town | City of Mosaics | The Map | Park | The Centenary | Interactive Study

Details of the Madaba Mosaic Map
Jordan Valley | Jerusalem | Dead Sea | Coastal Plain | Med. Seashore | Mountain of Judah


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