We got up the next morning and I could just feel it in my bones that this would be a wonderful holiday.The sky was blue and I looked out of the room window at a city that is a quaint mix of many styles.Though much of Amman consists of apartments,here there is a touch of the Mediterranean style in the red tiled roofs and the olive trees that people plant everywhere,even on the roadside. Throw in an odd Roman style column, a Corianthian pillar or a Hellenistic portico and you have Jordan’s entire history and culture on view in the city’s architecture.
Abid arrives dot on time and we join him as soon we have had a go at the breakfast buffet.I buy a map of Amman and a book about Jordan’s ancient sites from the hotel lobby and we set off for a long day of sightseeing.The moment we are in the car,Abid presents us an excellent map of Jordan and a booklet giving historical details of the sights we are about to visit.
The clouds begin to close in as we drive out of the city towards the first destination, Mount Nebo. Mount Nebo, Abid tells us, was the last station in Moses’ historic flight from Egypt to the Holy Land. He and his people are thought to have camped in a lush valley northeast of Mount Nebo.Forgive me if I get some of my Biblical information and facts askew but such is the magic of this ancient place that you believe everything that you are told.Most of is true anyway.
“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo,to the top of Pisgah (Arabic name Syagah) which is opposite of Jericho”. (Deuteronomy 34:1)
Before going up Mount Nebo, a brief history of Jordan would be in place though.This is an ancient land with many layers of history. Along with the period of the Old Testament, the Greeks,the Romans and many others have been here. Christianity arrived here early followed by Islam. The present day country is an Arab country that is nearly 90% Muslim and is named The Hashemite Kingdon of Jordan.The following paragraph from Wikipedia gives the these details of who has been here before the Arabs:
“During its history, Jordan has seen numerous civilizations, including such ancient eastern civilizations as the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Mesopotamian, and Persian empires. Jordan was for a time part of Pharaonic Egypt, and spawned the native Nabatean civilization who left rich archaeological remains at Petra. Cultures from the west also left their mark, such as the Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires. Since the seventh century the area has been under Muslim and Arab cultures, with the exception of a brief period under British rule.”
This picture is from the internet.I did not have a helicopter to be able to take such a fine shot !! The road on the side leads straight down to Dead Sea.
We drive through breathtaking country side and wind our way up to Mount Nebo.It is drier now and the hills are brown as far as the eye can see.We come to this memorial that was erected to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s millenium visit to this site in 2000 A.D.
We climb upto the promontory and from here we can see the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho, and the distant hills of Jerusalem. It is from here that Moses viewed the Holy Land of Canaan that he would never enter.He died somewhere in this region and the site of his burial has never been located but this place was a place of pilgrimage for early Christians from Jerusalem and a church was built here in the 4th century A.D. to commemorate the end of Moses’ life.
I am not a Christian but I get goose pimples when I stand at the place where Pope John Paul had stood in 2000 A.D. to survey the same scene that Moses saw more than 3000 years ago. The houses that I can see on the horizon are Israeli settlements.Other than those this landscape is still much the same as it was in Moses’ time.
The present day church was closed for renovation work but we toured the rest of the surrounding area, taking in the views and visiting the small museum.
Remnants of times gone by are all around the hillside.
Some historical details about this ancient site.
A portion of one of the many beautiful mosaics preserved here on Mount Nebo.
The area closed off for excavation and restoration work.
Those interested in learning more about this lovely site and in seeing pictures of the church interiors can click on the link below.