"And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho."
This is a place of huge religious significance, to both Christianity and Judaism. The Bible describes this as the place where Moses first saw the Promised Land. It is also believed that God buried Moses here on this very mountain. There's still some controversy as to whether this really is the place described in the Bible, but recent excavations of a 4th Byzantine church marking this place as exactly that suggests it almost certainly is.
The church has been rebuilt on top of the remains of the unearthed one, and inside the new walls you will find similar mosaics on the floor to those of nearby Madaba.
The Pope also visited here in 2000 to mark the importance of this site to Christians.
In addition to the historical significance, the views from the top of the mountain are magnificent. On a good day you really can see all the way to the Holy Land. With luck, places like Jericho, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea are all visible from here.
To get here you can either book a taxi, which costs 25 JD if you book it together with a trip to Bethany and the Dead Sea, which is very much advised. If you want to travel more cheaply, there is a regular bus running from Madaba for a quarter of a dinar.
Mount Nebo of Course (~_~)
Mount Nebo is only 11 km from Madaba
It is the highest point in the area, with amazing views down to the Jordainian valley, dead sea and on a clear day Jerusalam.
There are many ruins up there housed in a Fransiscan Chapel, also a huge Staff of Moses.
Madaba's Archaeological Park: Virgin Mary's Church
One of the most interesting places to visit in Madaba is the Archaeological Park, situated in the centre of the town. It has several rests of different places, and also the rests of a church with mosaics: Virgin Mary's church. It was an early christian temple, which was rebuilt by byzantines. Most of the building is now lost, but you can still see some very interesting mosaics, like the one in the picture, from which you can see that the temple had a circular layout.
Bethany Beyond The Jordan
I visited Bethany from Madaba. In this huge archaeological area, there are many significant sites. This is where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist. It is also here where Elijah ascended to heaven.
There are quite a few churches being built. Close to the River Jordan is a Greek Orthodox Church.
The river Jordan forms the border between Israel (West Bank) and Jordan. When visiting the terrace at the river, it is a couple of meters and you will be in Israel. The Israel side is heavily militarised.
When you plan on visiting Bethany, do take your passport with, as there are military check points. I was never asked for mine at any point.
I went with a car and driver. You cannot visit the area as an independent traveller, as it is a military zone. You will be taken to the parking area, where you will be taken to the different sites by a guide. The guides are well trained and made the experience very pleasant.
Admission is 7 JD.
It is very humid and warm here, bring drinking water with as you walk quite a bit, and protect yourself from the sun.
Madaba's Archaeological Park: Roman rests
Inside the Archaeological Park, apart from several mosaics of very high interest, you can still see some rests of the roman forum and the cardo maximus. Next to them, there are also mosaics of what were supposed to be roman houses and residences of wealthy people, like the Hipolito's hall.