Madaba Governorate:
Canyoning and the City of Mosaics


Of all the twelve governorates in the Kingdom of Jordan, Madaba looks out over the most significant chunk of the Dead Sea coast. But that’s not all. Madaba has unique canyoning spots and impressive nature in Wadi Al Hidan and the northern part of the Mujib Biosphere Reserve.

Madaba Governorate at a glance

  • Situated along the Dead Sea coast.

  • Over 60 hot springs, including the Ma’in hot springs.

  • Home to the northern part of the Mujib Biosphere Reserve.
    Different levels of canyoning are possible, for instance, Wadi Hidan and Wadi Zarqa Ma’in. Both the Jordan Trail & Jordan Bike Trail cross the region.
  • Ma’in hot springs.

  • Local activities: carpet weaving, mosaic art, pottery making, carob experience

Gorgeous canyons

Several natural retreats and springs are among the adventurous attractions in the Madaba Governorate. The hot springs of Wadi Zarqa Ma’in and Zara, for instance, and Wadi Al Hidan are great for hiking and canyoning. Madaba is also adjacent to the Mujib Biosphere Reserve, the lowest nature reserve on Earth. 

This beautiful oasis in the desert land has some fantastic hiking trails through gorgeous canyons and sparkling waterfalls.

But the most popular attraction close to Madaba is the Dead Sea. Although administratively the Dead Sea follows the Balqa governorate, its coastline spans further south parallel to the Madaba and Karak governorates. It can be seen and accessed from Mt. Nebo and Mujib Nature reserve. The water of the Dead Sea is so salty, you can effortlessly float in it. With a water level of 420 meters below sea level, it is the lowest location in the world on the mainland. Swimming in it is quite an experience. But don’t dip your head underwater. It hurts. We tried.


Madaba Governorate is adjacent to the Amman Governorate, which holds Amman, the capital of Jordan. It’s easy to hop thirty kilometers from Amman to visit Madaba without any hassle. Madaba, which gives its name to the governorate, is nicknamed the City of Mosaics due to a number of amazing mosaics, for instance the famous 6th century Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. With two million pieces of vividly colored local stone, it depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta. The Madaba Mosaic Map covers the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, located northwest of the city center.


For those who can’t get enough history, check the ruins left behind by the Roman Empire at Madaba Archeological Park. Umm ar-Rasas used to be a Roman town and a Roman military camp before that. The ruins are best known for the stone arches, which are among the top archeological sites in Madaba. There are several Churches among Madaba attractions, including the Church of St. George, Church of Apostles, Church of Moses, Church of Martyrs, and St. John the Baptist Church, to name a few.

“Mount Nebo, according to the legend, is the place where The Ten Commandments were given to Moses, and where he was shown the Promised Land”

The Ten Commandments

In the Madaba Governorate, you’ll also find Mount Nebo. According to the legend, it is the place where The Ten Commandments were given to Moses, and he was shown the Promised Land. Of course, you’ll also find the Memorial Church of Moses here. If you are into religious hotspots, don’t miss the Fortress of Machaerus, also called Mukawir Castle. This is the castle where Saint John the Baptist was beheaded. The view from both Mukawir Castle and Mount Nebo is spectacular.

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