This rectangular walled city is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. It was fortified by the Romans, and subsequently embellished by local Christians with Byzantine-style mosaics over 100 years into the start of the Muslim Umayyad rule.
Most of the city now lies in ruins, but there are several structures in its eastern part that have been excavated and restored.
Just outside the city walls is the recently unearthed Church of Saint Stephen. Its perfectly-preserved outstanding mosaic floor is the largest of its kind to be discovered in Jordan; second only to the world-famous mosaic map at Madaba. The mosaic depicts the images of 27 Old and New Testament cities of the Holy Land, both east and west of the River Jordan.
SAINT PAUL CHURCH
The symbol of Umm ar-Rasas is Saint Paul Church or at least the most significant remains.
You will see the structure on almost every photo from Umm ar-Rasas – yes, we are talking about those three famous arches standing inside the almost destroyed church.
Then you will also sea Lions Church, Villa (you can see here rudiments of the original houses), Madkhar Church (really not much was left from this church), Tabula Church or Roman Castrum.
Except for Saint Paul Church, other must-see things are mosaics. Some of them are covered by roof like those in Byzantine Church of Saint Stephen (the mosaics found here during excavations are truly remarkable.
Church of Saint Stephen is really worth your time. There are catwalks so you can watch the mosaic from every angle possible.
We were really blown away by how the mosaic is wonderful, and only later we found out that this mosaic is the largest intact mosaic in all Jordan!
The discovery of this large mosaic actually gave scientists a proof that this place is the biblical city of Kastron Mefa’a. The mosaics in Umm ar-Rasas, like at Mount Nebo or in Madaba, depict daily life.
Just 2km north of Umm Ar-Rasas is the highest standing ancient tower in Jordan, rising 15m high with no door or inner staircase.
Believed to have been used as a place of solitude by early Christian monks, today it is inhabited only by flocks of birds.