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Madaba, known in the Bible as the Moabite town of Medaba and located 30 kilometers southwest of Amman, is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics that have been uncovered throughout the city. The most famous of these mosaics is a 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land discovered in 1896. The map is located in the contemporary Greek Orthodox church of St. George. Its history dates back at least 3500 years. 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 Jerusalem, labeled the "Holy City." The map provides important details as to its 6th century landmarks and is a major key in developing scholarly knowledge about the physical layout of Jerusalem after its destruction and rebuilding in AD 70.
The northern part of the city turned out to be the area containing the greatest concentration of mosaic monuments. 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 and the Church of the Sunna' family.