19 June 2007

Madaba and Mount Nebo

Madaba and Mt Nebo

Sunday, 17th June we hired a bus to Madaba and Mt Nebo. We were met by our friend Faisal, who was our guide at Petra. His explanations and descriptions of the sites we were to see were perfect.

At St George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Madaba exists the remains of a mosaic map created in the early 9th century. The church was destroyed by fire and about ⅔ of the map was lost; however the part that remains is in great condition and is a wonderful example of ancient artistry and skill. We also visited an ancient hermit’s cave, an ancient church, the mosaic school and the Memorial to Moses.

The church at the Memorial to Moses was destroyed by earthquake in the latter part of the 19th century, and is now maintained by Franciscan Friars who have been there since 1933 when it was restored. To this time they live and work there. Masses and other special events such as weddings and baptisms are still held in the church. In 2000 the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II made a visit to the site. A huge statue was erected in commemoration of that event on the road leading to the church.

Many will tell you that Moses died here and that is the reason for the memorial. However, no one knows where Moses died, but it is known that he lived for some time in this area. This fact is known from several ancient inscriptions found during the restoration, as well as the fact that this area was inhabited by Ammonites. Moses took his wife from the Ammonite people. This particular site was selected because of the view to Palestine. As most of you know, the legend says that Moses was taken to the top of a mountain where he could see the “promised land”, but was not allowed to set foot in it. Thereafter, he died and was buried by Yahweh. From the site of this church you can easily see Palestine and Dead Sea in a panorama that is breathtaking.

It was a gorgeous, sunny and breezy day. Sadly, the long-distance pictures of the countryside didn’t turn out so well because of the haze.

1 comment:

Lonna said...

Interesting to know.