08 September 2009

Not mad about Madaba

To get away from the Dead Sea truly tested the performance of the mighty pea. Its food processor sized engine had to work overtime to haul us from -400m down at the Dead Sea to 800m up Mount Nebo in the Moab Mountains. I nearly wore out 1st and 2nd gear.

According to the bible Mount Nebo is the site where Moses first saw the promised land, died (at the age of 120!) and was also buried. Because of its biblical connections it has been an important pilgrimage site since Roman times.

At the top of Mount Nebo are the ruins of the Moses Memorial Church which we couldn't get to explore due to archeological work. We did have a nose from the viewpoint though and got to see the views (through the haze) over the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea to Bethlehem, Jericho and Jerusalem.

We then descended into the town of Madaba where we were spending the night. Madaba is famous for its Byzantine era mosaics, the most famous of which is the map on the floor of St George's Church. The map was made in 560AD and shows all the biblical sites of the Middle East. We can't show you a picture of it because I was too annoyed to get my camera out. After paying to go into the church (which severely hurt my inner Atheist) I then got told off for having my legs crossed. When I uncrossed them I then got told off for not having both feet flat on the floor, and for good measure the guy came back and told me off for wearing my hat. Welcome to Madaba, home of the Middle East's most friendly Christians! Oh, and the mosaic wasn't much cop anyway.

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