Um Ar Rasas, Roman and Byzantine ruins • Jordan

In just over 2 minutes, journey to Umm Ar Rasas in Jordan, where the echoes of Roman and Byzantine civilizations blend with the ancient biblical site of Mephaat. This video, accompanied by insightful text, unveils the mysteries of a place where history is engraved in stone and mosaic. Witness the grandeur of 8th-century mosaics and explore the layers of human history preserved in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, a testament to the diverse cultures that thrived here.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Jordan (EN)

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

Um ar-Rasas, ancient biblical site

Located in the semi-arid steppes of the Jordanian desert, the site of Um ar-Rasas is associated with the biblical establishment of Mephaat mentioned in the book of Jeremiah. Mephaat was one of the places condemned to destruction

The region was already populated at the start of the Bronze Age, from the 3rd millennium BC.

The Romans used the site as a military encampment and it was subsequently inhabited again by Christian and then Muslim populations.

Archaeological interest of Um ar-Rasas

The excavations undertaken on the site have brought to light vestiges of the Roman and Byzantine eras as well as objects dating from the beginning of the Moslem period.

One of the most important finds is the mosaic floor of the Saint-Etienne church, made towards the end of the 8th century. This perfectly preserved soil is the largest discovered in Jordan. These mosaics represent scenes of fishing and hunting as well as the main surrounding towns of the time.

Byzantine era

Jerusalem became the center of the Christian world with the advent of pilgrimages to the sources of religion from the 4th century, and some pilgrims chose to settle in the desert and created monasteries there. Um ar Rasas then became an ecclesiastical center where many Byzantine churches were built.

the muslim era

Muslim armies entered Palestine during the first half of the 7th century and enjoyed the support of the Arabic speaking populations of the region who did not appreciate the Byzantine governance of the region. At this time, many mosaics were disfigured because of restrictive laws put in place against Christian images. And at that time many Christian religious buildings were abandoned.

about the place, Umm Ar Rasas:

Umm ar Rasas is located about 30 kilometers south-east of Madaba and is a densely populated site from the early Bronze Age. The site is mentioned in the bible (Jeremiah) under the name of Mephaat.

Listed as World Heritage by Unesco since 2004, a large part of the site remains buried and new excavations are necessary to bring the whole to light.

The most remarkable discoveries concern the mosaics constituting the floor of the church of Saint Stephen (dating from 786 AD). This mosaic floor is perfectly preserved and is the largest of its kind in Jordan.


Spoken comments in the film: 

East of the Jordan River a few kilometers south of Madaba, remarkable mosaics forming the floor of a 7th century church are part of a World Heritage Site. The place does not attract too many tourists, and the visit is very interesting, especially since you take your time perfectly to admire its wonders.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of jordanian traditional music in "Um Ar Rasas, Roman and Byzantine ruins • Jordan", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

Byzantine ruins in Jordan, Umm Ar Rasas • Jordan

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the ruins of the 8th century church, Umm Ar Rasas • Jordan

the ruins of the 8th century church

splendid mosaic representing a fish, Umm Ar Rasas • Jordan

splendid mosaic representing a fish

three arches, Umm Ar Rasas • Jordan

three arches

church choir mosaics, Umm Ar Rasas • Jordan

church choir mosaics

Um ar Rasas, Jordan

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