Our little guide took us to see the remains of the Byzantine Church . He searched for the guardian who had the key and let us into the fenced enclosure. We were the only visitors.There is a beautiful mosaic floor with representations of animals, birds and fish. In retrospect it reminds me of the Villa of Birds in Alexandria. [see tip under Alexandria.] though the colours are not as fresh.
Because it is a Christian Cgurch, the fish is aone of the details in the mosaic.
In 1990 the remains of a Byzantine era church was discovered on the north slope of the Colonnade Street. The church containsmosaic floors, marble screens, side rooms, a baptismal tank, and a room full of burnt scrolls, now known as the Petra Scrolls. It is really worth seeing as some of the artwork is really well preserved.
You can see a shelter on the hill on the right : this protects the Byzantine Church which was found in 1992. A number of half burned scrolls were found at the same time, the American Centre for Oriental Research in Amman is examining them. Most of them were the church accounts which make fascinating reading!
A large marble urn was found here and can now be seen in the Petra Museum down in the Basin (see below). The mosaics on the church floor are beautiful: those who have visited Madaba will notice the resemblance to the style of mosaics there. Presumably they were done by some of those expert mosaicists from Madaba or perhaps by somebody trained there - an interesting speculation! There were also many mosaics decorating the walls, gilded tesserae were found in quantity.
A couple of other churches have been found nearby - it was a surprise to many people to see how busy the site of Petra was in Byzantine times. A large monastery from the same period has also been discovered on the slopes of Jebel Haroun, and was excavated recently by a Finnish mission.
Posted by Lulu
When you pass Qasr al-Bint, before Basin Restaurant, there is a hill (that you can see very well from the Cardo Maximus). At the top of the hill there is the fantastic Byzantine Church. It's very easy to find because there is a white roof (the only in all Petra :D!!!). The church was build by Nabataean and then broadened by Romans in the first century, it's a great place!!! Infact you can see wonderful mosaic!! This church is wonderful and you MUST see it!!!!
On the other side of the Cardo Maximo, easily missed, stands this small church. This is indeed the structure with a white modern roof to protect it. It could have burnt around the 6th century. Today it is especially worth the walk for the wonderful mosaics inside.
If you had the chance to visit Madaba before, you may be slightly disappointed. Otherwise, this is the only example of mosaic you can admire in Petra.