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St. Stephen: Mosaics of cities

Walled cities from both banks of the Jordan river on the mosaic floor of St. Stephen in Umm er-Rasas, 8th century.
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More about the walled cities

Representations of cities, each accompanied by a toponym in Greek, are shown in the intercolumnar spaces of the church:

In the north row, eight cities west of the Jordan River are depicted: The Holy City (of Jerusalem) in which it is possible to identify the Anastasis church of the Holy Sepulchre according to the iconography attributed to it in the Byzantine period, Neapolis (Nablus) with (perhaps) the façade of the church of the Theotokos on Mount Gerizim, Sebastis (Sebastia), Caesarea on the sea; Diospolis (Lidda); Eleutheropolis (Beit Gibrin), Askalon, and Gaza.

In the south row appear seven cities east of the Jordan river (today's Jordan): beginning with the double plan of Kastron Mefaa (Umm er-Rasas); followed by Philadelphia (Amman), Madaba, Esbounta (Hesban), Belemounta (Ma'in), Areopolis (Rabbah), and Charach Mouba (Kerak).

Researchers indicated that the arrangement of cities representations on the mosaic floor of the church could be related to common pilgrimage routes of that time.

Apart from the city plan of Neapolis with its colonnaded facade, and the depiction of the outer quarter of the city of Kastron Mefaa, all the cities repeat the polygonal schema of the walled cities of the classical cartographic tradition. Buildings inside the walls are either rectangular with gabled roofs or circular and surmounted by domes.
(From: Michele Piccirillo)

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