Lesson of biblical geography
Nothing likes the imagination as art objects whose age is calculated by centuries. In the head instead of cultural philosophical thoughts climb; stand up, removing the hat, in front of the Venus of the Milos – Here is the best way to feel the fresh breath of eternity.
Experience of this kind of promise travelers A visit to the Jordanian city of Madaba, which is 30 km south of Amman. It seems to be quite a stupid Madaba, founded almost three and a half thousand years ago, its secrets: almost under each house there is a Byzantine mosaic. Much has already been discovered and exhibited in the urban museum, but the archaeologists and other lovers of old days like to think that the mass of discoveries is still ahead.
The main discovery, however, was already done, and it happened at the end of the XIX century. Geographical map from Mosaic, depicting the Holy Earth, is the subject of the inexhaustible interest of historians, pilgrims and ordinary tourists. This mosaic now covers the floor of the modern Greek Orthodox church – the church of St. George, located near the Northern City Gate. Scientists have established that the card was posted in 570, apparently, to decorate the floor of one of the ancient Madabsky churches. Despite the fact that only the fourth part of the card preserved (initially the mosaic had a size of 15.7 by 5.6 m), its value is difficult to overestimate. Sadly, however, to realize that one hundred years ago everything could work out otherwise.
In 1880, near Madaba, by that time, for more than a thousand years old, the Bedouin tribe of Aziziat, confessing Christianity settled. Starting to build a church, Bedouins started a mosaic floor with a holy land map. They reported to the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Nicode, but the true meaning of this find was understood only by the successor of Nicodemia Patriarch Gerasim. It was he who ordered the church at this place. In 1890, an architect who was instructed to explore the find and include it in the building of the new church, in Madabu on the orders of Patriarch, if he deemed a mosaic. The architect, meanwhile, turned out to be nobing, and in the construction of the church – and built it in 1896 on the foundation of the ancient Byzantine church, in which this floor was, – some parts of the card were simply destroyed. Even the layout of the ancient and new churches coincides only in part. All that we have now is a large fragment in the central and northern parts of the temple and three isolated fragments between the first and third row of columns for pre-processing.
The map covers the territory of 12 Israeli tribes with surrounding areas. This same legendary Canaan land that God promised to the progenitor Abraham. The contents of the names, especially direct links to the tribes of Israel, names, the quotes from the Bible clearly indicate that the map is primarily a document of biblical geography. The basis of the map, according to the majority of researchers, was laid the famous "Onomasticon" – The first guide to Palestine, composed by Eusevia Pamphil in IV in.
Scientists managed to identify over 150 titles. All these places are located on the territory of the Middle East, from Tira and Sidon in the north to (and including) the Neal delta in the south, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Arabian desert in the East. Extremely reliably transferred features of Palestine geography. Across the central axis formed by the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, there is a transitional plateau with its valleys in the east and mountains of Samaria and Jews in the West, clearly separated from the Mediterranean coastal plain.
The map is oriented to the east, as well as the city and buildings presented on it and their accompanying names; Due to the limitations of the space used, the card contains inaccuracies and some conventions, nevertheless, it very significantly reproduces the existing mesh roads. Cities are classified. For example, Jerusalem, Gaza and Askalon are indicated other than the smallest cities of Type Baths and Jericho. Little villages are marked with gates with testers on the sides or church. The names of the land and the largest cities are lined with red Greek letters. Next to the names of some cities, the most important events in them are reported.
Jerusalem occupies the most noticeable place on the map. It is visible as if from a bird’s flight, is depicted volume and very realistic, despite the schematic. Buildings selected clearly biased. An unknown artist divided the city into two half, using his main street as a distinctive line – Cardo: the quarters east of it are inclined to the western part of the card, and Western quarters – to the bottom of it.
Not bypassed on the map and other places in the country. Along the Dead Sea floats the ships with sailors, in the Moavitskaya Plain there is a lion, and in the waters of Jordan and Nile float fish. Palm trees grow in the Jordanian valley. River crossings are denoted by a conditioned transportation vessel, which is driven by a winch.
In general, visiting the church of St. George is the best way to look at Egypt, Lebanon, Sinai, Israel, Palestine and Transiordia VI century. Entry fee – Dinar.