Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo: What to see, where it is, and how to get to this sacred site

Mount Nebo is a holy place for Christians, Jews, and Muslims, as it is believed to be where the prophet Moses saw the Promised Land, as mentioned in the Deuteronomy of the Old Testament and the Torah. Therefore, it is a destination for many pilgrims and a must-visit for travelers interested in religious tourism. On this page, we tell you everything you need to see at Mount Nebo and provide practical information to help you plan your visit.

Table of Contents

Where is Mount Nebo?

Mount Nebo is a small mountain that rises over 800 meters above sea level, but its sense of height is even greater considering that the nearby Dead Sea has a negative altitude (below -400 meters). It is located about 25 km by road from this large body of saltwater and about 10 km from the center of Madaba, making it easy to visit from both points.

A bit of history

Mount Nebo is closely associated with Moses, a prophet in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, and his most important deeds are known from the accounts in Deuteronomy. It is believed that Moses led the Israelite people here, whom he had liberated from Egypt. However, he was only able to glimpse the Promised Land from this natural elevation, as he was denied access.

And it is precisely here where Moses died at the remarkable age of approximately 120 years. However, the exact location of his grave is unknown and subject to different theories.

Its conversion into a sacred place of pilgrimage is mainly due to Christians, who are believed to have built a humble church here in the early centuries of the history of this religion. In the late 4th century, a Hispano-Roman traveler and writer (born in the province of Gallaecia) journeyed to the sacred places and reached Mount Nebo. At that time, there was a small church with three apses here, to which a baptistery was added a century and a half later, during Byzantine times.

A larger basilica was constructed in the late 6th century. By then, Mount Nebo was already the destination of an important pilgrimage, as suggested by the existence of Roman milestones that marked the way here.

After the Muslim conquest, this pilgrimage declined and came to a halt from the 16th century onwards, and the church was completely abandoned. But the discovery of the manuscript of Egeria in the 19th century revived interest in Mount Nebo. In the 1930s, the Franciscans took charge of a significant restoration of the site, as well as the spaces built to showcase it.

iglesia monte nebo Mount Nebo

What to see on Mount Nebo and its surroundings

Mount Nebo is not just a mountain from which to admire the horizon: it has different historical and visitable spaces that enrich the visit, as they provide context. These are the places to see on Mount Nebo and its immediate surroundings.

  • Monument and viewpoint: this is the place where visitors can really imagine the famous scene where Moses views the Promised Land. To help visualize this, there is a panel that explains what can be seen from here, such as Jerusalem (on clear days), the Golan Heights, and the Dead Sea. To commemorate the episode, a modern monument was erected in the shape of a cross that symbolizes the staff with the serpent that Moses used as an antidote against snake bites.
  • Memorial Church of Moses: externally, its current appearance is sober, the result of recent reconstruction, but as can be seen, it stands on the foundations of a Byzantine basilica from the late 6th century, which in turn was built on a humbler one from the 4th century. Its interior houses spectacular and well-preserved mosaics, some of them with hunting scenes where visitors can see animals typical of that period. In addition to being a church, its interior is also museum-like, with informational panels that help visitors understand the space.
  • Interpretation Space: a few meters from the memorial church, there is an interpretation space for Mount Nebo. In reality, it is an open but covered area, where other mosaics can be seen, with informational panels that explain the history of the place.


These three spaces are all located on Mount Nebo, but in the surroundings, there are other interesting places that require transportation by vehicle, as the distance on foot is excessive.

  • Moses’ Spring: about 2.5 km from Mount Nebo. It is one of the two places that, according to popular belief, could be Moses’ spring (the other is in Wadi Musa). The prophet Moses would have struck a rock with his staff in this place, from which water would have flowed to quench the thirst of his followers. Currently, there are only eucalyptus trees that mark the hypothetical location of the spring, which only has water if it has rained in the days prior.
  • Church of Saints Lot and Procopius: near the village of Khirbet Mukhayaat, about 3 km from Mount Nebo. These are the remains of a Byzantine church from the mid-6th century, which, as was customary, had rich mosaics that have been reasonably well preserved.
  • Al Hakaya Museum: on the road to Mount Nebo, about 2 km before reaching it. It is a curious ethnographic museum that recreates scenes from the traditional life of Jordan throughout its history, including Bedouin habitats, models depicting biblical scenes, and much more, including a large souvenir shop to purchase typical crafts of the country.


In addition to all of this, it is worth mentioning the fortress of Machaerus (Mukawir), which was also the palace of Herod the Great, where John the Baptist was beheaded at the instigation of Salome. We talk about its location and attractions on the page of the Dead Sea.

How to get to Mount Nebo

To get to Mount Nebo, you will need a vehicle to bring you here, as there is no public transportation, except for the tourist service offered by JETT, which connects Amman with Madaba, Bethany Beyond the Jordan, and this very point. However, there are numerous taxis that depart from Madaba to Mount Nebo, as it is an essential excursion from that city.

Nevertheless, the most convenient and reliable option is to have your own private service that can take you to all the places to see in Mount Nebo and its surroundings, with enough time to enjoy this unique place. There is a parking lot at the entrance of the basilica complex where you can park your car.

If you want to go directly to Mount Nebo from other parts of the country, here is a list of approximate distances and durations:

  • Madaba: 10 km, 15 minutes
  • Queen Alia International Airport (Amman): 30 km, 45 minutes
  • Dead Sea (Swemeh): 25 km, 30 minutes
  • Bethany Beyond the Jordan: 30 km, 35 minutes
  • Jerash: 75 km, 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Wadi Musa (Petra): 220 km, 3 hours
  • Wadi Rum: 310 km, 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Aqaba: 300 km, 3 hours and 45 minutes

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