The Memorial church of Moses on top of Mount Nebo, Jordan.

© Skazzjy/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Moses Memorial Church

Mt Nebo

On top of Mt Nebo, this modest church, or more accurately basilica, was built around 4th-century foundations in 597 and has just undergone major reconstruction. It houses some of the best (and best presented) mosaics in Jordan, dating from around 530. The masterpiece is a hunting and herding scene interspersed with an assortment of African fauna, including a zebu (humped ox), lions, tigers, bears, boars, zebras, an ostrich on a leash and a camel-shaped giraffe.

The church was abandoned by the 16th century and only relocated in the 20th century, using 4th- and 5th-century pilgrim travelogues. The Franciscans bought the site in 1932 and were responsible for excavating most of the ruins of the church and the monastery, as well as reconstructing much of the basilica.

The church is part of a functioning monastery, off limits to visitors. There's a small but fascinating museum presenting the history of the site.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mt Nebo attractions

1. Memorial Viewpoint

0.05 MILES

Moses' view of the Promised Land towards ancient Gilead, Judah, Jericho and the Negev is marked by an Italian-designed bronze memorial next to the Moses…

2. Church of SS Lot & Procopius

0.47 MILES

Originally built in 557, this church houses a remarkable mosaic with scenes of daily life such as agricultural work, fishing and winemaking (in particular…

3. Moses' Spring

0.98 MILES

This spring is one of two places where Moses is believed to have obtained water by striking a rock. Six giant eucalyptus trees mark the spot, and there’s…

4. La Storia Tourism Complex


This new ethnographic diorama, 2km before Mt Nebo on the Nebo–Madaba road, features an exhibition of tableaux billed as depictions of the religious,…

5. Wadi Jadid Dolmen Field

2.59 MILES

More terraced fields than wadi, Wadi Jadid is locally renowned for its remarkable collection of early Bronze Age burial chambers and stone memorials…

6. St George’s Church & Mosaic Map

5.32 MILES

This rather modest 19th-century Greek Orthodox church houses a treasure of early Christianity. Imagine the excitement in 1884 when Christian builders came…

7. Archaeological Park II

5.38 MILES

Walkways lead around the ruins of this late-6th-century luxury private mansion, destroyed by fire and earthquake around 749. The walkways offer a good…

8. Dar Al Saraya

5.41 MILES

Built in the late 19th century as the administrative centre of the Ottomans, this grand old building was subsequently used as the headquarters of the…