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  Madaba & Mount Nebo 

 

MADABA

Jordan’s charming city of Madaba has a history that goes back to at least 3500 years. Madaba is considered to be one of the most impressive places in the Holy Land and has been named the ‘City of Mosaics’.  It is situated 30 kilometers southwest of the capital city of Amman along the 5,000-year-old Kings’ Highway.  

Madaba is famous for its beautiful Byzantine and Ummayad mosaics and its most outstanding masterpiece is the 6th century AD Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land – the earliest sacred map found inside the Orthodox Church of St. George.

In the Holy Bible, Madaba was known as Moabite town of Medaba, and is mentioned in the Old Testament account of Moses and the Exodus (Numbers 21: 30).

David also vanquished an Ammonite and Aramean coalition near Madaba (I Chronicles 19: 7). His victory was short-lived, however, as in the mid-ninth century BCE the Moabite King Mesha freed the city from the control of the Israelites (2 Kings 3). Mesha, whose capital was the ancient city of Dibon (now called Dhiban, and located just north of Wadi Mujib), recorded his victories on the famous Mesha Stele, an inscribed stone set up in about 850 BCE. The rich farmlands around Madaba were coveted and fought over by the Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Israelites and other local kingdoms.

 “So their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon (Al-Mujib), and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland by Medeba…And the border of the people of Reuben was the Jordan as a boundary. This was the inheritance of the people of Reuben, according to their clans with their cities and villages.” (Joshua 13:16-23).

 

 

The book of Joshua mentions that Madaba and its neighboring areas were assigned to Jacob’s eldest son with

Leah; Reuben: “So their territory was from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon (Al-Mujib),

and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland by Medeba…And the border of the people

of Reuben was the Jordan as a boundary. This was the inheritance of the people of Reuben, according to their

clans with their cities and villages.” (Joshua 13:16-23)

 

What to see:

·        St George’s Church

·        Church of the Apostles

·        Madaba Archeological Museum

·        Madaba Archeological Park

 

 

MOUNT NEBO

Mount Nebo (known as Pisgah in the Holy Bible) is without a doubt Jordan’s most holy and sacred site. It is located just ten minutes’ drive west of Madaba and is famous for being the site where Prophet Moses looked upon the Promised Land, but did not enter it, and is believed to be his  memorial site and the presumed site of his death and place of burial. It is also where a church and a monastery were built to honor him.

 

The book of Numbers (33:47) mentions that when the children of Israel moved from Almon Diblathaim they camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo, and that the children of Reuben rebuilt the city (Numbers 32:38).

 

The city remained with the Moabites, according to Isaiah: “Moab will wail over Nebo and over Medeba; on all their heads will be baldness, and every beard cut off” (Isaiah 15:2-3). Prophet Jeremiah (48:1) said of Nebo, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Woe to Nebo! For it is plundered.”

 

Prophet Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. “The Lord showed him  all  the  land  and  told  him  do  not  cross there” (Deuteronomy 34:1-4). “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.” (Deuteronomy 34:5-6).

Mount Nebo offers stunning views of the Dead Sea, the West Bank, the Jordan River, and on some days depending on the weather, Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

In the year 2000, the late Pope John Paul II carried out a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, celebrating the beginning of the new millennium. He started his visit with prayers in the Basilica at Mount Nebo. 

 

 

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