Known as “The City of Mosaics,” Madaba has in the past provided this former alter boy with a very special treat – the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. Blessed with many wonderful icons, but greater historical value – a vivid sixth-century Byzantine mosaic map showing Jerusalem and other sites in the Holy Land.
So it was with much joy that I read in yesterday’s Jordan Times:
Greek grant to enhance tourism services, preserve Byzantine-era church
Under an agreement signed on Tuesday by the Planning Ministry, USAID, the Ministry of Tourism, the Department of Antiquities and the Greek patriarch of Jerusalem [Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III], the Greek government will provide Jordan with $720,000 through Hellenic Aid to enhance tourism services in the mosaic city of Madaba and to protect and preserve an ancient Byzantine-era church.
I for one am glad to see both the Greek Orthodox Church and the U.S. step up to help preserve this historic site with:
… constructing a shelter over the site and providing visitors with interpretation and visual guides describing the history of the church and its numerous mosaics, according to the USAID-Jordan Tourism Development Programme ..
… also finance renovation work on the visitor centre adjacent to St. George Church, home to the world-renowned mosaic map of the Holy Land so it can accommodate the growing number of tourists coming to the site.
There are also plans to refurbish the visitor center with an interpretation room and a new documentary film – one can only hope the Ministry of Tourism and/or the Jordanian Tourism Board will put said media online as well.
The St. George Church of Madaba saw a 104 per cent increase in visitors in the first seven months of this year, drawing 163,027 tourists through July – so it’s good to see a site so full of ancient history and of interest to Biblical tourism protected.
Here are some other related links regarding Madaba – which to me is a must see location for anyone visiting “the other Holy Land” :
- Flickr – Gauis Caecilius – Madaba
- 6th Century Mosaic Map – St. George’s Church – Madaba, Jordan – Mosaic Art Source blog
- Dave Liu Dot Com blog – Madaba
- blogJordan -New mosque dedicated to Christ in Madaba, Jordan
Now if you don’t mind, I’ve got my own pictures of the famous Madaba Mosaic to put online!by