Day 23: Amman to Mt Nebo and the mosaics of Madaba
Today we left Amman for warmer pastures. Ha, I joke because it’s always warm here now! We bade farewell to Malcolm and the gang (until they make a reprise at the end of our trip) and Mr Edward and Mrs Bedouin Johnny Depp set out for the Madaba area.
We barely got lost at all getting out of the city (hip hip hooray!) and headed out towards Mt Nebo. This is another site with biblical significance but also a beautiful view. The church is still closed for restoration but the view is good and there is a beautiful mosaic laid out under a tent to see.
Heading back in to Madaba to catch the beautiful mosaics the city is known for, we ended up going in a few circles to find the visitors centre. Many roads are “one-way” in appearance but are not necessarily clearly sign posted as such and you can truly end up going round and round if you’re not careful and learn from your mistakes. There was one sign for the visitors centre in particular that was quite misleading which added another loop to our journey. In the end we did manage to make it to the visitors centre where we were permitted to park for the time while we poked around the town and also given a handy map.
We started at the Madaba Archeological Park which is just around the corner from the visitors centre. We paid like 1 or 2JD and received a very informative guided tour along with this. This site is definitely worth viewing as the mosaics contained within are lovely. He showed us also how the colour changes when the stones get wet. It’s incredible how intricate, durable, and old these pieces are. Our guide also showed us how mosaics are made in two ways, the old and the new.
From there we set out to see the Church of the Apostles ans with a little help from some friendly locals we were able to find it. There are more beautiful mosaics here and the entry fee is included with the Madaba Archeological Park fee. No personal tour guide here unfortunately.
Map in hand and gaining a better understanding of the layout of the city we ventured back towards St George Church where the Mosaic Map is housed. We came across the same lady who had directed us earlier and she once again kindly sent us in the right direction. We accidentally stumbled on the church where St John the Baptist was beheaded but a mutual decision was made to skip this.
We located the church quite easily after that and excitingly, our hotel, Moab Land Hotel, was literally right across the street. It’s a Greek Church and it’s just 1JD to enter. The mosaic is absolutely beautiful. Incredible that they could make such a detailed map of the region so many years ago.
With that done, we had the challenge of navigating the 500m from the visitor centre parking lot to our hotel… it took us probably half an hour with all the one way streets and crowds. Boohoo…
We tried Ayar Restaurant for dinner, just a short 10 minute walk from our hotel. It was very good and quite reasonably priced and I ate probably 2 lbs of parsley. Apparently the ratio of couscous to parsley is a little opposite here compared to Canada!