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The amiable market town of Madaba is best known for a collection of Byzantine-era mosaics. The most famous of these is the map on the floor of St George’s Church, but there are many others in different parts of the town, several of them even more complete and vibrantly colourful.

Madaba has one of Jordan's largest Christian communities. The town’s long tradition of religious tolerance is joyfully – and loudly – expressed on Friday, when imams (religious teachers) summon the faithful to pray before dawn, and bells bid Orthodox Christians to rise at first light.

The town remains one of the most traveller friendly in Jordan, and it's an alternative to Amman as a base for exploring the King’s Highway and Dead Sea highlights. By taxi, you can even travel directly from Queen Alia International Airport in around 20 minutes, bypassing Amman altogether.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Madaba.