Coming to Madaba would be futile if you do not visit its Archaeological Park. The place is an open-air museum where several excavations led to the discovery of Church of the Virgin Mary and Hippolytus Hall amongst ruins of other ancient structures. The oldest mosaic in Jordan, from Machaerus, dating back to 1st-century BC marks the entrance to the park.
Church of the Virgin Mary
The church built in the 6th century was uncovered in 1887 beneath a private house. It comprises of a beautiful mosaic adorned with flower blossoms and buds around the edges and inscriptions that suggested the church was dedicated to Virgin Mary. The central medallion- a geometric masterpiece is believed to have been made in the Umayyad period, around 767 AD.
Front porch of the Virgin Mary Church was built above a hall, which used to be a rich Byzantine Mansion during the 6th century. The exceptionally gorgeous mosaic floor was discovered in 1982 during an excavation project. Four seasons in the corners of this hall are decorated with borders of acanthus scrolls having hunting and pastoral scenes.
The Burnt Palace
Mosaic floors of a palatial residence have also been recently discovered. Their condition suggests that the palace was abandoned after it had burnt down during the Byzantine period. These mosaics comprised of portraits of animals, a grid filled with trees, flowers, birds and fish.
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