Mount Nebo

A few kilometers outside of Madaba is Mount Nebo, the last height in the mountains before descending deep into the Moab Valley, toward the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.

Mount Nebo is where Moses goes to look over the Holy Land.  It is also where Moses is said to have been buried.  It’s all relative — figuring out what is or isn’t the location of something roughly described in a passage of scripture is a mess of archeology, history, tradition, politics, and religious intent — but folks are confident that if Moses looked over the Holy Land, this is where he did it.  (To read the Deuteronomy passages that refer to Mount Nebo, see this and this… I couldn’t decide on a translation to post to reference the importance of the mountain!)

During the visit, I learned that one Prophet hid the Arc of the Convent here at some point, in a cave on the mountain.  (In my view, the storage facility at the National Archives probably remains the better hiding spot.)

Construction and restoration to the site, to include a fantastic church and museum, is ongoing — with support from the Italian government (signs posted in English, Arabic, and Italian!)  The construction currently blocks access to points of the Mount, including limiting how close you can get to the Serpentine Cross (Brazen Serpent Monument) which is beautiful and striking.  (I had hoped for some photography right up and under the monument, but had to be content with photos from afar instead.)

Here are some photos of the site.

Monument at the entry:


Memorial to Moses, who is claimed to have been buried here by God (location unknown):


View of the Holy Land.  You can easily see Jericho (in Israel, just past the Jordan River) and on a clear day, can see the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.


Serpentine Cross:

Cross with construction site:


More of the view.  You can see the road leading down from Mount Nebo — it is a spectacular drive into the plains of Moab, past Bedouin tents with livestock on the hillsides, and impressive rock throwing golds, reds, and yellows back at the sunlight.


If you look very carefully, you can make out the northern edge of the Dead Sea.


Looking south…


Lighting candles in the museum:


Kate, dancing.  She claimed that “ladies like her walk like this…”  She also claimed that ladies like her don’t walk on stones, and that she had to be carried.  We had to stop right there on Mount Nebo and have a talk about what ladies do and don’t do.  She decided to stick with the dancing and posing.


Giant stone used to protect the structures on the Mountain from invaders.  The stone would be rolled in front of the open door way in the event of unwanted visitors approaching.  Will did his best to move it…



The kids at the overlook:



Kate.  Being Kate.


Another view…


Still another view…


I feel like this helps give a sense of the colors, textures, and layers in the land…


Kids and I at the overlook…

From Mount Nebo, we descended into the plain and into the lowest area of the earth… ending at the Dead Sea!