Day 7 - 11th September 2014
By now our tour of the Holy Land proper is over. We saw and walked on most of the places that Jesus too walked while he was on earth as a fellow human. That I consider a great blessing.
Our next destination was the biblical Mount Nebo, the last resting place of Moses, 28km South West of Amman in Jordan.
This morning we checked out of Hotel Golan in Tiberius, Galilee. From Israel / Palastine (I am still confused about the borders of these two countries - we crossed them several times thus loosing track of the country in which I was) we drove to Jordan Valley Border Crossing to enter into Jordan.
Here we said good-bye to our dear friend and Guide John and the driver.
We visited Mount Nebo where Moses' unknown tomb is situated. This is the kind of landscape that we passed as we were climbing the Mt. Nebo. Little wonder the Israelites grumbled when Moses led them through this terrain in search of the Promised Land.
After 40 years leading the headstrong Israelites in the desert, Moses stood on the windswept summit of Mount Nebo and viewed the Promised Land of Canaan — after having been told by God “you shall not cross over there”.
As Deuteronomy 34:5-6 recounts, Moses died there in the land of Moab “but no one knows his burial place to this day”. Moses did, however, eventually reach the Promised Land. He and Elijah were seen with Jesus at the latter’s Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36).
Mount Nebo is now in western Jordan. At 820 metres high, it looks down 1220 metres on the nearby Dead Sea (which is about 400 metres below sea level).
Stone stele at the entrance to the Mt. Nebo site
Detail of Mosaic at Mt. Nebo
Outside the present-day shrine stands an enigmatic serpentine cross, the Brazen Serpent Monument. Created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni, it imaginatively merges the life-saving bronze serpent set up by Moses into the desert (Numbers 21:4-9) and the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.
On a clear day, today’s pilgrims can see the panorama Moses viewed: The Dead Sea, the Jordan River valley, Jericho, Bethlehem and the distant hills of Jerusalem.
The Franciscan church on Mt. Nebo. When we visited the mount the church was closed to visitors for renovations. We could not go in.
The type of rolling stone that covered the tomb of Jesus
Mount Nebo is in the province of Madaba (4 km) which is famous for Byzantine Mosaic art. (We did not Visit Madaba.)
The remains of the oldest known map of the Holy Land, painstakingly assembled from more than a million pieces of coloured stone, lie on the floor of a church in the Jordanian city of Madaba.
This unique art treasure was designed by an unknown artist and constructed in a Byzantine cathedral in the middle of the 6th century.
It was rediscovered only in 1884, but its unique character was recognised only in 1896, after the new Greek Orthodox Church of St George had been built over it.
The discovery of the Madaba Mosaic Map, and mosaics in the remains of five more churches and other locations in the town, led to Madaba, 30km south of Amman, becoming known as “the City of Mosaics”.
We had a late lunch around 3.30 pm at a restaurant in Madaba and came to our hotel in Amman little early. After checking in we had free time to
do shopping on our own. Accompanied by the other two Sri Lankan ladies who needed some guidance, we walked to a shopping mall within the vicinity. But it was a quite a distance. After buying few things for the family at home we took a cab back to the hotel.
Our Hotel in Amman
Our room seen from my bed
Inner compound of the hotel