Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo: what to see, where you are and how to get to this sacred place

Mount Nebo it is a holy place for Christians, Jews and Muslims, since this is where it is believed that the prophet Moses saw the Promised Land, as mentioned in the Deuteronomy of the Old Testament and the Torah. Therefore, it is a place that receives numerous pilgrims and is also an essential destination for travelers interested in religious tourism. On this page we tell you everything you have what to see on Mount Nebo and other practical information that will help you organize the visit.

Table of Contents

Where is Mount Nebo

Mount Nebo It is a small mountain that rises just over 800 meters above sea level, but its feeling of height is even greater if we take into account that the nearby Dead Sea has a negative altitude (below -400 meters above sea level). It is about 25 km by road from this large body of salt water and about 10 km from the center of
, so it is easy to visit from both points.

A bit of history

Mount Nebo he is closely linked with Moses, prophet for Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and his most important facts are known from the narrative collected in Deuteronomy. Moses would have come this far with the Israelite people, whom he had delivered in Egypt. However, he had to settle for spotting the Promised Land from this natural elevation, as he was denied access.

And it is precisely here that Moses died, at the astonishing age of 120 years or so. However, the exact location of the grave is not known and is the subject of different theories.

Its conversion into a sacred place of pilgrimage is mainly due to Christians, who would have erected a humble church in the first centuries of history of this religion. At the end of the fourth century, a Hispano-Roman traveler and writer (born in the province of Gallaecia) traveled to the sacred places and reached the Mount Nebo. At that time, what was here was a small church with three apses, to which a baptistery was added a century and a half later, already in Byzantine times.

A major basilica was built at the end of the sixth century. By then, the Monte Nebo was already the subject of an important pilgrimage, as suggested by the existence of Roman landmarks that marked the way here.

After the Muslim conquest, this pilgrimage was declining until it stopped from the sixteenth century, when the church was completely abandoned. But the discovery of the manuscript of Egeria in the nineteenth century reactivated interest in the Mount Nebo. Already in the 30s of the twentieth century, the Franciscans took charge of an important restoration of the place, as well as the spaces built to put it in value.

What to see on Mount Nebo

What to see in and around Mount Nebo

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

  • Monument and viewpoint: it is the place where the visitor really imagines the famous scene in which Moses sees the Promised Land. To help put you in such a situation, there is a panel that explains what you see from here, such as Jerusalem (when the day is clear), the Golan Heights and the Dead Sea. To commemorate the episode, a modern, cross-shaped monument was erected that actually symbolizes the antler with the serpent that Moses used as an antidote to the stings of that animal.
  • Memorial Church of Moses: externally, its current appearance is sober, the result of a recent reconstruction but as can be seen, it rises on the foundations of a Byzantine basilica of the late sixth century, erected in turn on another more humble of the fourth century. Its interior houses spectacular and very well preserved mosaics, some of them with hunting scenes where the visitor can see typical animals of that period. In addition to being a church, its interior is musealized, so you will find information on panels that will help you understand the space.
  • Interpretation Space: a few meters from the memorial church there is an interpretation space of Mount Nebo. In reality, it is an open but roofed area, where you can see other mosaics, with information 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, for which you will have to move with a vehicle, since the walking distance is excessive.

  • Moses Spring: about 2.5 km from Mount Nebo. It is one of two places that, according to popular belief, could be the spring of Moses (the other is in
    Wadi Musa
    ). The prophet Moses would have struck with his rod a rock in this place, from which he would have flowed water to give water to his followers. At present there are only a few eucalyptus trees that mark the hypothetical location of the spring, which only has water if it has rained in the previous days
  • Church of Saints Lot and Procopius: near the village of Khirbet Mukhayaat, about 3 km from Mount Nebo. It is the remains of a Byzantine church of the mid-sixth century and, as was customary, had rich mosaics that have been preserved in a more than acceptable way
  • Al Hakaya Museum: on the road to Mount Nebo, about 2 km before arriving. It is a curious ethnographic museum where scenes of traditional Jordanian life are recreated, throughout its history: Bedouin habitats, models representing biblical scenes and a long etcetera, where there is no lack of a large souvenir shop to acquire typical crafts of the country

In addition to all this, it is worth mentioning the fortress of Macheron (Mukawir), which was in turn 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 Dead Sea page

How to get to Mount Nebo

To get to Mount Nebo, you will need a vehicle to bring you here, as it lacks public transport, except for the tourist service offered by the JETT company, connecting Amman with
Bethany Beyond the Jordan
and this same point. Of course: there are numerous taxis that leave Madaba towards the
Mount Nebo, as it is an essential excursion from that city.

However, the most comfortable and reliable thing is to have your own private service that can take you to all the places to see on Mount Nebo and its surroundings, calm enough to enjoy this unique place. At the entrance of the basilica grounds there is a parking lot where you can park your car.

If you want to get directly to Mount Nebo from other parts of the country, this is a list of distances and indicative durations:

  • Madaba: 10 km, 15 minutes
  • Amman Airport (Queen Alia): 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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