DISCOVER THE CITY OF MOSAICS- THE OLD CITY OF MADABA
Madaba has witnessed different projects, to enhance its tourism potentialities and invest its cultural and heritage resources, especially as a foreign supported projects, such as; The Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Urban Development Project “Third Tourism Project” (2008-2012), Tourism Sector Development Project-III (1999-2011), Madaba Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration (2002- 2011), and Shelter in Madaba Archaeological Park and Interpretation at the Church of the Map (2008-2010) (MOP, 2010).
However, with numerous projects that aim at increasing tourism, not address how to achieve such a goal while sustaining and preserving crucial historical locations and assists. HELAND is our attempt to try and achieve that goal through sustainable methods.
Madaba as a case study has a promising future in the tourism sector, its high growth and development rates, generating a considerable source of foreign currency, the infrastructure development, and opportunities for new management and educational experience, which contribute positively to the social and economic development of the city (JEDCO, 2011).
The city of Madaba characterized by its urban morphology that attracts various types of tourists, has many potentials that promote it to be one of the major tourism destinations in Jordan. Its geographical location in the mid- southern region enables it to be accessible from different directions and close to other popular tourism destinations such as; mount Nebo, Mukawir, Hammamat Main, Um Al-Rasas, and the Dead sea.
Historically, Madaba witnessed many old civilizations; Moabites, Nabateans, Roman, Arab Muslims, Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics findings are scattered all over the city. Its heritage could be dated back to at least 4500 B.C. It flourished as a city during Moabite and Ammonites times [ca.800 B.C], and through the Hellenistic periods; Madaba also, was part of the Roman province of Arabia around 106 A.D.
During the Ottoman period Madaba witnessed major urban development especially after lands reform. This historical fabric of Madaba supports richness in the urban form of the city, characterized by a centralized morphological scheme meeting and melting on the historic core with supported roads that radiate from it (MOTA, 2005). Accordingly, this represents the overlapping and co-existence of many archeological sites in the city.
The archeological park, one of the main attractions in Madaba presents the remains of an ancient roman road flanked by columns and paved with mosaics. Within the park the church of the Map (contains the most preserved mosaic map of the holy land) is located; additionally, the Burnt Palace, the Church of the Martyrs “Al.Khadir”, The Church of the Virgin Mary create an attraction to the tourists who are coming as pilgrimage. In addition several other urban structures dating to the 19th and early 20th century such as the Houses of Twal, Jumean, Karadsheh, and Hamarneh families (USAID, 2007) are part of Mdaba’s historical core.
Therefore tourists visit Madaba for many reasons; as pilgrims during Christians holidays, or as a destination for therapeutic tourism due to its proximity to the Dead sea and Hamamat Main, or as a cultural spot that contains different eras within it. These cultural and historical motivators facilitate Madaba to be a good tourism destination attracting tourists from all over the world.
Madaba city is the capital of Madaba governorate; it forms around 42% of its area, and with 22.700 households (MOTA, 2005). The demographic trends in Madaba city are less active than that in all of Jordan. IN the last ten years It has had 21 % growth compared to the national rate 23 %. Economic reports show that unemployment rate in Madaba is around 15 %, creating discouragement among locals regarding job opportunities (MOTA, 2005).