MT NEBO (جبل نيبو)

We drove a few kilometers from Madama to Mt Nebo (🎟️ 3 JOD), where Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land, a land he was forbidden to enter. It’s believed that he died at the age of 120 and was later buried in the area, although the exact location of the burial site is the subject of conjecture.

On top of Mt Nebo is a basilica built around 4th-century foundations. It houses some of Jordan’s best (and best presented) mosaics, dating from around 530 AD. The church was abandoned by the 16th century and only relocated in the 20th century, using 4th- and 5th-century pilgrim travelogues. The Franciscans bought the site in 1932 and were responsible for excavating most of the church and monastery’s ruins and reconstructing much of the basilica.

Moses’, usually hazy, view of the Promised Land towards ancient Gilead, Judah, Jericho, and the Negev is marked by an Italian-designed bronze memorial next to the Moses Memorial Church. The ironwork, symbolizing the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross and the serpent that ‘Moses lifted’ in the desert, stands in the middle of an invariably windy viewing platform.

After that, we searched for where to refill our water tank and hit the Al Hakaya Museum (💦,🎟️ 2 JOD), a relatively new ethnographic diorama just 2km before Mt Nebo. It features an exhibition of tableaux billed as depictions of the religious, historical, and cultural highlights in the heritage of Jordan. The scenes border on the kitsch (Noah’s Ark is populated by various soft toys and badly stuffed animals). However, the experience improves considerably with the folkloric and ethnographic scenes, including a recreation of a traditional souq with its many tradespeople.

Parking location – Mt Nebo: 31.766538N 35.728036E (🚻)