Jordània, dia 2: d’Amman a la Mar Morta (29 de desembre de 2017) (VIII)
La majoria de la població de Madaba professa la religió islàmica, encara que molts habitants són cristians (entre un 35-40% de la població de la ciutat), existint nombroses esglésies.”
En la versió anglesa s’explica que ” Madaba (Arabic: مادبا; Biblical Hebrew: מֵידְבָא Meidvah) is the capital city of Madaba Governorate in central Jordan, with a population of about 60,000. It is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of the Holy Land. Madaba is located 30 kilometres (19 miles) south-west of the capital Amman.
Madaba dates from the Middle Bronze Age.
The town of Madaba was once a Moabite border city, mentioned in the Bible in Numbers 21:30 and Joshua 13:9.
During its rule by the Roman and Byzantine empires from the 2nd to the 7th centuries, the city formed part of the Provincia Arabia set up by the Roman Emperor Trajan to replace the Nabataean kingdom of Petra.
The first evidence for a Christian community in the city, with its own bishop, is found in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, where Constantine, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bostra (the provincial capital) signed on behalf of Gaiano, "Bishop of the Medabeni."
During the rule of the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate, it was part of the southern district of Jund Filastin within the Bilad al-Sham province.
The resettlement of the city ruins by 90 Arab Christian families from Kerak, in the south, led by two Italian priests from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1880, saw the start of archaeological research. This in turn substantially supplemented the scant documentation available.
The Catholic Church's list of titular sees uses the spelling "Medaba", traditional in reference to the ancient bishopric centred on this city, while at the same time referring to the modern city as 'Madaba".
In his memoirs, the German Count von Rantzau reports about his friend Sultan Gin-Achmed, Royal Prince of Madababoth studying at Helmstedt University, Germany in 1729 and meeting again in Paris ten years later
The first mosaics were discovered during the building of new houses using bricks from older buildings. The new inhabitants of Madaba, made conscious of the importance of the mosaics by their priests, made sure that they took care of and preserved all the mosaics that came to light.
The northern part of the city turned out to be the area containing the greatest concentration of mosaics. During the Byzantine-Umayyad period, this northern area, crossed by a colonnaded Roman road, saw the building of the Church of the Map, the Hippolytus Mansion, the Church of the Virgin Mary, the Church of Prophet Elijah with its crypt, the Church of the Holy Martyrs (Al-Khadir), the Burnt Palace, the Church of the Sunna' family, and the church of the salaita family.
The Map of Madaba mosaic was discovered in 1896 and the findings were published a year later. This discovery drew the attention of scholars worldwide. It also positively influenced the inhabitants, who shared the contagious passion of F. Giuseppe Manfredi, to whom the rediscovery of most of the city's mosaics are owed. Madaba became known as the "City of Mosaics" in Jordan.
The Madaba Mosaic Map is a map of the region dating from the 6th century and preserved in the floor of the Greek OrthodoxBasilica of Saint George, sometimes called the "Church of the Map". With two million pieces of colored stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns in Palestine and the Nile Delta. The mosaic contains the earliest extant representation of Byzantine Jerusalem, labeled the "Holy City." The map provides important details about its 6th-century landmarks, with the cardo, or central colonnaded street, and the church of the Holy Sepulchre clearly visible. This map is one key in developing scholarly knowledge about the physical layout of Jerusalem after its destruction and rebuilding in 70 AD.
Other mosaic masterpieces found in the Church of the Virgin and the Apostles and the Archaeological Museum, depict a profusion of flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba.
The University of Toronto has been excavating in Madaba from 1996 until the present. Their efforts have focused primarily on the west acropolis where an open field has allowed access to uncover the entire sequence of occupation at Madaba from the modern period down to the Early Bronze Age levels. The most visible feature of this area is a 7.5-meter-wide (25 ft) fortification wall built sometime in the 9th century BC, with subsequent rebuilds throughout its history. There is also the remains of a well-preserved Byzantine era house at the base of the fortification wall.
In 2010, a 3,000-year-old Iron Age temple containing several figurines of ancient deities and circular clay vessels used in Moabite religious rituals was discovered at Khirbat 'Ataroz near Mabada.
(La imatge correspon al mapa de Madaba)