A week and some change after arriving to Jordan, Kail and I took our first trip outside Amman. We went on an Embassy-organized trip to Mount Nebo and Madaba to see the famous view of the Promised Land as granted to Moses by God in the Bible, as well as Madaba’s beautiful mosaics.
Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.” (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)
It was a bit hazy but we could see Jericho, the Jordan River and the Dead See in the distance. Mount Nebo is surprisingly close to Amman — and Amman is surprisingly close to the border.Franciscans have been leading excavations and renovations of the Memorial Church of Moses, above, where they have uncovered and restored beautiful mosaic artworks on the floors and walls. The church has been under renovations for a couple of years and has been closed to the public but is supposed to reopen by the end of the year — although apparently the date has been pushed back a number of times.There were some mosaics on display outside the church, along with a museum holding more, smaller mosaics and a “tombstone” memorial to Moses. We were a large group (maybe 40-50 people) so we were split into two groups, one led by a hired tour guide and one led by a Franciscan friar from the church.From Mount Nebo we took a short ride in our tour bus to Madaba town, where we visited the Madaba Archeological Park and St. George’s Church. The former consists of Byzantine church ruins and more beautiful mosaics, and the latter, a Greek Orthodox church, houses the famous Madaba Mosaic Map showing a biblical-era rendition of the Middle East.Madaba Archeological Park.Part of the Madaba Map.Our tour ended with a delicious lunch at Haret Jdoudna restaurant, which is in a historical house right near St. George’s Church. (As I’ve mentioned, I could eat fresh bread, hummus and baba ghanoush everyday.) We then had a little bit of time to explore the various shops in Madaba before boarding the bus back to Amman.Have you visited any historical biblical sites?See more photos from Mount Nebo and Madaba.