Mosaics in Jordan
|Mosaics are often found in byzantine churches|
If you enjoy art and want to see some of Jordan's mosaics, perhaps the best place to start is at Madaba, where I visited a couple churches. The most famous mosaic is probably the mosaic map at St. George's Church. The mosaic represents the biblical land from Egypt to Lebanon, including Sinai, Israel, Palestine, and Transjordan. Inside St. George's church, you can also see mosaics hanging on the walls.
|St. George's Church, Madaba|
|Mosaics adorn the walls|
|The mural is on the floor in the section beyond the benches|
|The mosaic map showing the holy land|
|Church of the Apostles|
Mount Nebo is known as the place mentioned in Deuteronomy, where Moses looked across at Israel, the promised land. God said he would be unable to go there, and it is believed he died and was buried on the hill somewhere. The site has a modern church with a mosaic floor from a previous church. The floor is in really good condition, perhaps because another floor had been laid over it.
|The structure protecting the mosaics at Mt. Nebo|
|This mosaic is unusual in that it shows people caring for the animals|
|The mosaic is nearly flawless even after so many years|
Um er Rasas, one of the UNESCO sites in Jordan, has a number of mosaics on display among the jumble of buildings in the site. There are believed to be many more mosaic floors which have yet to be uncovered. I felt the thrill of discovery an archaeologist must feel, when I pulled back one of the plastic coverings the guide had shown me, and underneath was a fantastic mosaic in nearly perfect condition. The sand and plastic are being used to protect them from the elements until more excavation can be done.
|You can find unexcavated mosaics at Um er Rasas|
|This shows the detail of a building that might have been common at the time|
|A covering protects the mosaics which are still a work in progress|
The last place I visited was the Byzantine Church at Petra. You have to go past the Treasury and up on a ridge to see the church, so it's a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the view. The church is a work in progress. It's quite possible that there are more buildings like this in the Petra area, because only about 20% of Petra has been excavated. Brown University has been doing some of the archeological work at Petra using high tech equipment. These experts believe, "Two thousand years ago, 30,000 people lived in this leading city with plastered cisterns, piped in water, sophisticated houses, baths, some 800 frescoed tombs, a theater cut out of the living rock, frescoed temples—a population of merchants, but those also who cultivated fruits and vines. In using modern technology, we are even more appreciative of the Nabataean technologies, which allowed them to adapt the desert to their needs." These are indeed exciting times to be uncovering these gems of the past.
|The detail in the face makes this stand out|