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Madaba, The city of Mosaics

Madaba, the city of Mosaics and South of Jordan

We visited Madaba and south of Jordan on a day-tour from Amman. We were on a weeklong tour during the Covid Pandemic. In this tour, there were four main points which we had covered. These were

  • Wadi Mujib view point
  • Mukawer
  • Madaba, the city of mosaic
  • Mount Nebo
St Geoge Church Madaba
St George Church and 6th century AD mosaic map

How to get to Madaba and south jordan sites

Usually, people make a day tour to visit this side of Jordan. For this purpose, they can buy this tour from a recognized tour company from Amman.

However, you can do this tour by yourself too by renting a car or renting a car with a driver.  The estimated cost of this renting ranges from $100 for all these sights.

Important distances for this day tour

  • Amman to Wadi Mujib viewpoint: 80km in  1 Hour 30 Minutes.
  • Wadi Muji viewpoint to Mukawer: 58km in 1 Hour 15 Minutes.
  • Mukawer to Madaba: 34km in 45 Minutes
  • Madaba to Mount Nebo: 10km
  • Mount Nebo to Amman: 37km 55 Minutes

MAdaba Day tour highlights

Wadi Mujib viewpoint

Wadi Mujib is located to the east of the Dead Sea and is fondly known as the Grand Canyon of Jordan.  We started very early from Amman and reached there after covering the 80km in 1.5 Hours. The main attraction in the area was the SIQ trail. However, our today’s tour included the main viewpoint of the valley with the main Mujib dam was our left. We went to the highest point of the valley and admired the splendid panoramic views. The Grand Canyon of Jordan is a protected nature reserve. We can find many gorges dotted with several walking trails, rugged valleys, and occasional water springs. Wadi Mujib is an absolute must. It’s a great way to add the spice of adventure to the rest of the culture and history that you will experience traveling across Jordan

Wadi Mujib view point, Jordan
Wadi Mujib view point, Jordan


Mukawer was our next stop, which is related to the Biblical story of John The Baptist. It is a hilly area in the dead sea neighborhood. We reached there in one hour after covering the distance of 58km.

Mukawer is a fortified hilltop palace and an important one for History lovers. King Herod built this castle and he imprisoned and executed John the Baptist (described in the Bible) at this place. It sits over 1000 meters above the level of the Dead Sea and is surrounded by deep ravines which provide an exhilarating and scenic drive along narrow switchback roads to reach there. We reached there from Mujib Viewpoint after a drive of one hour. From this viewpoint, we can see the Mukawer hill and Dead sea in a single frame.

Mukawer, Jordan
Mukawer castle and Dead Sea, Jordan

Madaba, the city of mosaic

Madaba, known as the “City of Mosaics”. After visiting Mukawer, we turned back to King’s highway and reached Madaba in less than one hour. After parking, we started our visit to St George’s Greek Orthodox Church. Madaba is an interesting city with a rich Christian heritage and a major center for the mosaic art of the Byzantine period. It is home to the famous 6th-century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land which is composed of 2 million pieces of stones.

Madaba City
Our bus stop in Madaba City

St George Church in Madaba

This church is the main reason for travelers to visit Madaba. After thermal scanning and special approval by our guide, we visited St George Church. We spotted Jerusalem, Jericho, Jordan River, Dead Sea, Bethlehem, and many other prominent places of the middle east with the help of our guide. This mosaic map is dated back to the 6th century AD. In addition to this mosaic map, several mosaic paintings were hanging on the wall of the church. Our guide gave us a detailed and pre-visit presentation to the church.

Because of the main feature on the church’s floor, Saint George’s Church is often nicknamed Church of the Map. The entrance fee to Saint George’s Church is 1 JOD per person as this site is not included in the Jordan Pass. The church is usually open from 8 AM – 5 PM in the off-season (usually November to the beginning of April) and from 8 AM – 6 PM in the summer season.

After the visit, we had our lunch in Food Basket restaurant with traditional Jordanian food Maqluba

St George Church, Madaba, Jordan
St George Church, Madaba
Inside St George Church, Madaba
Inside St George Church, Madaba

mount nebo

After lunch, we went to Mount Nebo which is about 10km from Madaba. There was a bit rush as some Jordanian families were also there.

For Mount Nebo’s visit, we went to North West of Madaba. Mount Nebo, the mountain from which Moses viewed the Promised Land. Here we can see 5th-century mosaics and baptismal fonts in the Moses Memorial Church and get know-how about the site by visiting the small museum nearby. From the top of the mount, you can see the panoramic views of the Holy Land, the valley of the River Jordan, and The Dead Sea. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day.

The opening hours for the Mount Nebo site are between 5 am and 7 pm daily between April and October, and 7 am to 7 pm from November through to March.

Important places on Mount Nebo

Moses Memorial Church

On top of Mount Nebo, this church is constructed in the 4th century. However, a major re-construction has been made in later times. It houses some of the best mosaics of Jordan dated around 530AD

Abu Badd Rolling Stone

The rolling stone was used as a fortified door of a Byzantine monastery in the old village of Faisaliyah.

Mount Nebo, Jordan
Moses memorial and Abu Badd


Besides the Moses church, we visited a small museum located on Mount Nebo. It is free with a Mount Nebo ticket. Visitors can take a tour of the museum which includes information on the religious history of Mount Nebo and the surrounding area

Mount Nebo Museum, Madaba
Mount Nebo Museum

Memorial View Point

A viewpoint with a signboard from where we can see marked distances and exact directions to many places. We can try to see the Hebron, dead sea, Herodium, Bethlehem, Qumran, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus, and Lake Tiberias.

Memorial View Point
Memorial View Point at Mount Nebo

Moses Spring

This spring is believed to be one where Moses has obtained water by striking a rock. To reach the site from Madaba, we have to take a right turn before Mount Nebo, and about 2.5km uphill drive will lead us to the moses spring. The springs related to Moses are present in many places. One such place we also visited in Wadi Musa near Petra.

Moses Spring from Mount Nebo
Moses Spring from Mount Nebo

Braze Serpent Monument

It is a bronze serpentine cross created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni. It is symbolic of the bronze serpent of Prophet Moses.

Bianchi sculpture

It is a sculpture by Vincenzo Bianchi, commemorating the visit of Pope John Paul II to Mount Nebo, in the year 2000. 

Bianchi Sculpture
Bianchi Sculpture

Handicraft center

Last but not the least, before reaching back to our hotel we visited a handicraft center and learn the art of mosaic paintings there.

Handicraft center Mount Nebo

Where to stayed

We stayed in Sadeen Amman Hotel in Amman and made a day tour to Madaba and other attractions. Nowadays there is a strict lockdown in Jordan which starts from 18:00 to 06:00. So you have very little time to explore the top attractions in Jordan. In any case, you have to be in your hotel maximum by 19:00. So a day tour is not a good option nowadays.  A lodging in Madaba may be a good option to start your visit as early as possible.

What else we can add to in this tour

Madaba and Mount Nebo tour might be a part of your weeklong tour to Jordan. During your tour, you can make your day tours to the Dead Sea for a floating experience, visit the lost city of Petra to admire a world’s wonder, can go to the Northern part to visit lake galilee, Umm Qais, and Jerash. Wadi Rum is also a very good option to include for a couple of days.

Hey, This is Rashid and I am here to share my Wide Angle Dreams with you, with the aim to provide you a Wide Angle to catch your bucket list dreams of travelling and trekking. If you love to travel but feel that you are bound in tough daily routines and find very little time to catch your travelling dreams, then you are at a right place.

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