Madaba & Mt. Nebo
Dead Sea, Jordan
Be marveled by the impressive mosaics of St. George Church in Madaba, followed by an excursion to Mount Nebo where Moses once viewed the Holy Land from.
Make an excursion to Madaba, where the St George's Greek Orthodox Church known for the superb mosaic on the floor. Made during the 6th century AD, the mosaic depicts Holy Land pilgrimage scenes. The mosaic was discovered in 1897 when a flat area on a hill was chosen as the site for a new church. When the area was cleared for construction, a large mosaic was discovered. The mosaic once covered the floor of an ancient Byzantine church built around 560 AD. The original mosaic was originally an impressive 15.7x5.6m, but the remains are about a quarter of this size. It displays all the major cities and features in the Holy Land with remarkable accuracy. Jerusalem, and all its major features is the most important city, and is placed in the centre of the map. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is clearly shown as well as the Cardo Maximus, a colonnaded main street that ran east/west through the centre of the Old City.There are 157 Greek captions that label most of the important towns and features of the Holy Land at that time. The mosaic also includes the Jordanian towns of Kerak and Madaba.
En route to Mount Nebo where Moses viewed the Holy Land that he was disallowed from crossing. On a clear day, you can see the Mount Olive of Jerusalem, Dead Sea, Jordan Valley and the river. According to Christian and Jewish faiths, God himself buried Moses on Mount Nebo, although it is still contested amongst scholars as to whether this mountain is the same one that is referenced in the Torah. In Islam, it is believed the Moses (Musa) was not buried on Mount Nebo, but instead his remains lie only a few kilometres away, close to the River Jordan. Whilst a new church now stands on the mountain, the remains of a prior church and monastery were discovered in 1933. The church is believed to have been built in the latter part of the 4th Century, and is first referenced in the lady Aetheria's account of her pilgrimage in 394 AD. Mosaics from the ruins can still be seen at the site today.