Garo Nalbandian

Jerusalem on the Madaba map. Found in the 19th century on the floor of a church in Madaba, Jordan, this detailed sixth-century A.D. mosaic displays the earliest known map of Jerusalem as the centerpiece of a larger, much-damaged map that originally showed the Holy Land and part of Egypt. At the far left-center, depicting the northern end of Jerusalem the map portrays a simplified version of Hadrian’s entryway, showing just the center arch, lying on its side, flanked by towers but without evidence of the two side-arches. The map also shows the plaza within the gateway as a white area surrounded by two rows of yellowish-brown tesserae. The lone column that stood in the plaza is seen as a row of black tesserae across the plaza thickened at the right end to portray the column’s base. This column probably once supported a statue of Hadrian, which may have been removed when the city became Christian in the fourth century.