9 Things To Do In And Around Madaba, Jordan

things to do in madaba
| 4 min read

Madaba is a place where you can go with family and kids. The atmosphere is very easy-going, cool and the town is well known for its Byzantine mosaics. They are proud of the tolerance between both Christians and Muslims in the city. The city is the perfect location for exploring the holy sites.

Here are the top things you should not miss in Madaba:

1. Mukawir

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user hikinginjordan used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mukawir is dramatically located in the hills, south-west of Madaba, and overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a short drive off the King’s Highway and is said to be where John the Baptist lost his head after Salome danced for King Herod. You will find the remnants of Herod the Great’s castle on the conical mountaintop, and I am sure you will enjoy the yawning views of rippling hills that stretch down to the Dead Sea and out to the West Bank beyond.


Address: Madaba, Jordan

Visited this place?

2. Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Effi Schweizer used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Mount Nebo is located less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) west of Madaba and is also known as Pisgah in the Bible. It offers a fantastic view westward, with a vista that includes the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and on a clear day, Bethlehem. Mount Nebo is considered to be the tomb of Moses. It is very lonely, a windswept hill which is protecting the ruins of a 4th and 6th-century church whose floor is still covered with marvelous mosaics. The beautiful building was constructed by the Franciscans who started excavating the site in 1933.

Mount Nebo

Address: Madaba, Jordan

Website: Mount Nebo

Visited this place?

3. Hammamat Ma'in

حمامات ماعين محافظة مأدبا
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Anwer hjab used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Visit the most famous thermal spring in the hills above the Dead Sea - Hammamat Ma’in. The water here tumbles off the hillside in a series of waterfalls and less assuming trickles. These beautiful and full forced falls originate from winter rainfalls in the highland plains of Jordan and eventually feed the 109 hot and cold springs in the valley. This valley is highly populated on Fridays during spring and autumn.

Hammamat Ma'in

Address: Ma'in, Madaba, Jordan

Visited this place?

4. Umm Ar-Rasas

Umm ar-Rasas 15
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Professor Bjorn A... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Umm Ar-Rasas is a very important archeological site that was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004. Archeologists have focused their work on the Byzantine churches, of which four inside the walls and 11 outside the walls have been discovered so far. Inside the walls, you should check out two churches named the Church of the Rivers and the Church of the Palm Tree. Both churches are popular for their mosaics and date from the 6th-century. Outside at the northeast corner of the walls is the Church of the Lions. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this place and learn more about the history associated with it.

Umm Ar-Rasas

Website: Umm Ar-Rasas

Visited this place?

5. Madaba Archaeological Park

Madaba Archaeological park Panorama JO
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Freedom's Falcon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Get the opportunity to explore the archaeological park. This archaeological park encompasses the remains of several Byzantine churches, which includes the fantastic mosaics of the church of the virgin which was built in the 6th-century and the Hippolytus Hall. As you enter the complex, you’ll see a 1st-century BC mosaic from Machaerus. Now, follow the walkway to the right, above the Roman street. Through recent excavations, some portions of several mosaics which decorated the floor of a large residence that was abandoned after it had burnt down in the Byzantine area can be seen.

Madaba Archaeological Park

Address: Madaba, Jordan

Website: Madaba Archaeological Park

Visited this place?

6. St George’s Church & Mosaic Map

floor mosaic map at St. George Church Madaba
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Deror Avi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Can you imagine the excitement in 1884 when Christian builders came across the remnants of an old Byzantine church on their construction site? They have discovered not just another mosaic but it was one with extraordinary significance. Today, it represents the oldest map of Palestine in existence and provides many historical insights into the region. Every Friday and Sunday morning, the church opens at 7 am for Mass.

St George’s Church & Mosaic Map

Address: K. Talal St., Madaba, Jordan

Visited this place?

7. Madaba Museum

Madaba Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Deror_avi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Madaba Museum is known in the guide book as “AI Twal House” and is located down a small alley a few blocks south of St. George’s Church. Highlights of this museum include a 6th-century mosaic depicting a naked satyr, a saucy mosaic of Ariadne dancing with cymbals on her hands and feet. You will see jewelry, traditional costumes and a copy of the Mesha Stele. The open courtyard with grape vines, palms, and a great view makes a pleasant place to sit.

Madaba Museum

Address: Mount Nebo, Madaba / Mount Nebo, Jordan

Website: Madaba Museum

Visited this place?

8. Shrine of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

Madaba Beheading St John Church 4
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Freedom's Falcon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The church was operated in the early 20th-century and has been transformed into an intriguing destination for visitors and pilgrims by the restoration of the ancient sites. The beautiful church was built with ancient stones, and roman columns with Corinthian capitals dot the courtyard. The beauty of the complex is the Acropolis Museum, which is housed in the ancient, vaulted underbelly of the church. You will find a fascinating exhibition of photographs dating from 1902 to 1911. I recommend you spare some time and energy to scale the belfry.

Shrine of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

Address: Madaba, Jordan

Visited this place?

9. Church of the Apostles

Madaba Apostles Church
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Freedom's Falcon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This great looking church contains a remarkable mosaic which is dedicated to the Twelve Apostles. This location is considered to be one of Madaba’s most beautiful mosaics. The embroidery-like mosaic was created in AD 568 and it is the only place where the name of the craftsman is included. The central portion of the church shows Thalassa, which is a female personification of the sea and is surrounded by fish and slippery marine creatures. You will find all the corners decorated with native animals, flowers, birds, fruits and cherub faces.

Church of the Apostles

Address: Madaba, Jordan

Website: Church of the Apostles

Visited this place?

Find Madaba in history

Madaba, Jordan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user flashpacker-trave... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

So you’ve seen that Madaba has so many historical places where you get the chance to go back in history and explore their culture and beauty. When you’re planning your trip to Madaba, you should not miss the chance to visit the above-listed places. Visiting Madaba will not only be fun, it is a chance to learn more about the beauty of its history.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Hailing from India, Heena explores the world through information and people's preferences. She sees beauty in every place and excels as a storyteller and expressive writer. Moreover she is an...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Madaba
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.