The Madaba Map

The Madaba map is not only the oldest of all ancient Jerusalem maps to be discovered so far, it is also the oldest geographic floor mosaic ever found. It is named after the city in Jordan where it was found in 1896. Preserved in the floor of a Greek Orthodox basilica, the mosaic dates from the 6th century. It is made of 2 million pieces of colored stone.

Madaba map of ancient Jerusalem

The mosaic shows a large area that includes the Nile delta, the Mediterranean coast, the desert east of the Jordan and the city of Jerusalem at its center. Unlike most maps of Byzantine times, this one, and especially the section depicting ancient Jerusalem, is exquisitely detailed. It shows the Neva church, which was dedicated in 542 CE, but no buildings built in Jerusalem after 570 CE, which allows scholars to date the map to that time period.

You can see a reproduction of of it in the Cardo area of the Old City of Jerusalem.

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