Jordan Valley view from King's Highway, JordanView of the Jordan Valley from King’s Highway

The journey along Jordan’s scenic King’s Highway from Amman to Petra is like traveling back in ancient times.  The route is dotted with amazing sites that go as far back as the Biblical period.  King’s Highway itself is as old as time – it is the world’s oldest continuously used communication route and was mentioned early in the Bible.

Along the route, we stopped by three historic places that made for a deeply rewarding road trip.


Stepping into Mt. Nebo was like experiencing the pages of the Bible coming to life. According to the Bible, it was here where the Lord showed Moses the promised land and where he lived out his remaining days.

Mt. Nebo, Jordan

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo,… which is across from Jericho. …..” and the Lord showed him the promise land, “Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” – Deuteronomy

View from Nebo, JordanIt felt so surreal and breathtaking to stand at the same spot where Moses once stood. From here,  Mt. Nebo offers a sweeping vista that includes the Dead Sea, the West Bank, the Jordan River, and, on a clear day, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.


Mt. Nebo, Jordan

According to the Bible, Moses was buried in Mt. Nebo but his exact burial place is unknown.

In 1933, remains of a church and a monastery were uncovered on the highest point of the mountain. It was believed to be constructed around the 4th century AD to commemorate the place of Moses’s death.

Mosaics in Mt. Nebo mosaic, JordanUnfortunately, the church was under renovation during our visit. However, its exquisite mosaic floor was temporarily moved into a tent for public viewing.


Mosaics in Mt. Nebo mosaic, Jordan Part of mosaic floor of Mt. Nebo church from 4th century.


Cross in Mt. Nebo, Jordan

Sitting on top of Mt. Nebo near the church is a cross with a serpent, which symbolizes the bronze serpent created by Moses in the wilderness.


Olive Tree planted by Pope Paul II in Mt. Nebo, Jordan An olive tree planted by late Pope Paul John II during his visit on Mt. Nebo in 2000.



The town of Madaba is mentioned in the Old Testament account of Moses and the Exodus. Today, it is known as the City of Mosaics. It is home to the famous 6th century mosaic map of the Holy Land, which is the oldest known map of the Middle East.

St. George Church, Madaba, Jordan.jpgMadaba is one of the largest Christian communities in Jordan and is home to several Christian churches, the most famous of which is the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George.


St. George Church, Madaba, JordanThe famous mosaic map of the Holy Land is located on the floor of St. George Church. Called the Madaba Mosaic Map, it was discovered during the construction of the church in 1896.


St. George Church, Madaba, JordanThe cordoned off floor area near the altar of St. George Church is the location of the mosaic map.


Mosaic Map, St. George Church, Madaba, JordanMade of about 2 million colorful pieces of stones, the map depicts hills, valleys, rivers, villages and towns of all major Biblical sites from Lebanon to Egypt.  Only a third of the map exists today.


Mosaic Map, St. George Church, Madaba, JordanThe Jordan River as depicted on the mosaic map.


Mosaic Map, St. George Church, Madaba, JordanThe map depicts Jerusalem with great accuracy. It shows the city’s significant site such as the colonnaded street and Church of Holy Sepulchre.


Mosaic Workshop, Madaba, JordanMadaba also has a museum that houses other precious ancient mosaics that were discovered in the area. Today, the tradition of mosaic making is very much alive in Madaba. We visited one of the mosaic workshops where we witnessed the making of the art, which has not changed for centuries.


Mosaic Workshop, Madaba, Jordan.jpgThe technique starts by drawing a design on a muslin cloth. The artists then cut and adhere the stones on the muslin. After all the stones are set, the mosaic will be laid face down on a piece of wood with cement. The muslin will be removed and the mosaic will be cleaned and polished.


Mosaic Workshop, Madaba, The finished products. Depending on size and design, a piece can take up to weeks or months to complete. It obviously requires a lot of patience and great skill to produce a piece.



Shobak Castle, Jordan.jpgOur last stop en route to Petra was Shobak Castle, a spectacular 12th century Crusader Fortress. Unfortunately, it just closed for entry when we reached it, but we were able to admire its immensity and grandeur from the outside.


King's Highway, JordanIf you’re traveling from Amman to Petra, we highly recommend that you a stop at some of the string of historic sites along the way. It is a road trip you will not forget.

There are a lot more historic and natural sites you can see along King’s Highway:

  • Castle of Mukawir – It was a palace of Herod where Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist as a reward for her dancing.
  • Wadi Mujib – One of Jordan’s six nature reserves with spectacular valleys and canyons.
  • Kerak Castle – Another impressive crusader fortress from the 12th century
  • Lot’s Cave – The site where the prophet was said to take refuge after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • Dana Nature Reserve –  Home to a variety of wildlife, breathtaking canyon scenery, ancient copper mines, and local villages such as Dana village, which has been inhabited since around 4000 BC.


Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.


 Linking to Travel Photo Thursdays, Travel Photo Mondays, Travel Tuesday, and Our World Tuesday. 

Related posts:

About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

61 responses to “Jordan: Along the Highway of Great History

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Muza-chan.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jackie, thanks. It such a compliment coming from you.

  1. I love learning about biblical places and visiting them too. When I visited the Virgin Mary’s home in Ephesus, I recall thinking, “Wow, I’m actually standing where she stood.” It’s cool to see that you were thinking the same about Mt. Nebo and Moses. I definitely have to get to Jordan!
    Dana Carmel @ TimeTravel Plans recently posted..Beach Bummin’ in Tybee Island GeorgiaMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Dana, if you love learning about Biblical places then you will thoroughly enjoy Jordan. I hope you put it on top of your list.

  2. noel

    what a tour, I love viewing mosaics, and the one at Mt Nebo is very intricate and beautiful, thanks for linking up today
    noel recently posted..Easy Hiking in Vintgar GorgeMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Noel, our pleasure; thanks for hosting. If you love mosaics, you’ll have a feast of them in Jordan.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jill, is to true that for small country Jordan has so much to offer and so diverse as well. Definitely put it on top of your list.

  3. Ruth

    What a fascinating travel experience! I enjoyed your whole trip and all the photos.
    Ruth recently posted..Coral Sand DunesMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Ruth, we’re so pleased that you enjoyed traveling with us:)

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Salika, it was amazing indeed.

  4. Nice Pictures! Thanks for sharing these! It seems that the King’s highway is a historical gem in its own right. I can only imagine the experience of visiting some of the famous Biblical sites in person-its inspiring.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. Seeing the Biblical sites was truly awe-inspiring.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Aleah, we’re not religious either but we enjoyed experiencing all the Biblical sites for their historical value. It’s really amazing to learn that all those things that read about really existed and still exist. The mosaic workshop was a really delightful experience.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Marcia, Jordan is truly is beautiful. I really hope you can get there soon. We have not doubt that you will love it.

      • Marcia

        I kick myself as I should have gone in 2011 when my Jordanian friend was there. I ran out of time in Paris and postponed the trip. She passed away later that year :-)
        Marcia recently posted..5 Reasons to Visit St. Thomas, JamaicaMy Profile

        • Traveling Solemates

          Oh, that’s so sad.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Shannon, It really is incredible. Hope you get to go soon.

  5. Lanette

    Just reading this post gave me goosebumps. What an amazing experience to see so much of the Bible come to life. Jordan has steadily been at the top of countries I still plan on visiting. Thank you so much for adding fuel to my wanderlusting fire!
    Lanette recently posted..My humble tips for ‘Europe on a budget’.My Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Lanette, wait until you get there yourself and you’ll have never-ending goosebumps. Jordan is amazingly beautiful that it’s hard not to be touched by its beauty and history. I hope you make it there soon.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jackie, I hope you can change his mind soon! I’m sure he’ll be a big fan of Jordan after the trip – just like my husband.

  6. ladyfi

    What an amazing place so full of history.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Lady Fi, it’s incredibly rich in history indeed.

  7. What an amazing trip really! The mosaic floor is fantastic, I can’t believe in such a good state. That crusader castle was my favourite as I’m currently studying medieval age.
    Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse recently posted..Open WindowMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Megalia, there are a lot more well-preserved crusaders castle in Jordan. I’m pretty sure you will love it there.

  8. Erica

    That mosaic map is AMAZING! And you captured it beautifully!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I replied in the comment thread because your comments are no-reply.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Erica, thanks! You have to see the mosaic in person, they are much more amazing.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Amy! The mosaic making is truly an fascinating tradition and its craftsmanship is something to be really admired. You;ll be more amazed if you see the process in person.

  9. Thomas

    Your words and photos make me feel like I was there but also jealous that I may never get the chance to visit. I have long wanted to visit Petra. My family has so many places we want to see we dont know where to begin. At least there are sites like yours to give me a glimpse of what I have yet to see. Thanks for the great post and pics!
    Thomas recently posted..Memorial Day Weekend Getaways IdeasMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Our pleasure, Thomas.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Nancie! I hope you get to seem them for youself soon.

  10. thank you for the continuation of this fantastic tour. I love your first image, with the roadside flowers in the foreground and the magnificent view beyond – it makes me feel like I am standing there.
    And so interesting to see the mosaic makers at work and to know that their craft hasn’t changed over the years.
    Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by my blog today – you must look out for quinces in your market!

    • Traveling Solemates

      You’re welcome, Jill! I’m glad we made you feel transported:) Yes, your quince post made me curious and I certainly look out for it.

  11. This was a part of Jordan I haven’t heard of. I love the biblical connection here and what an honor to be someplace with so much history. That mosaic making is amazing and i can’t get over how much craftmanship and patience goes into it. Absolutely beautiful photos.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Finding Mozart in Salzburg AustriaMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Thanks Mary! Not many are aware that Jordan is amazingly rich in Biblical history. I was so surprised myself. I knew about Mt. Nebo but not the rest of them. Seeing and learning about the mosaic making was really fascinating.

  12. Meghana

    Great historic post on Jordan…

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Meghana, thanks!

  13. Leigh

    This looks like one of the world’s great drives and what a lot of world-class sights to see along the way. How long a drive would this be if you didn’t stop? Did you do the driving.

    The mosaic map is outstanding and as usual I’ve learned something from your blog. I would so love to follow your footsteps.
    Leigh recently posted..Extreme Silence: A Solo Backpacking Trip in Cape Chignecto ParkMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Leigh, the drive from Amman to Jordan on King’s Highway without a stop is about 5 hours (about 3 hours on the modern Desert Highway). It was truly worth it to spend the whole day on the road to stop on different sites. We had a driver and a guide. We found we could have easily do it on our own because the drive was pretty much straightforward.
      Glad to hear you learned something form this post.

  14. Dennis

    The mosaic map looks so intricate & delicate I’m in awe it’s still existing all these years! No wonder it’s cordoned off now. Love the views on Mt. Nebo as well.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Dennis, it truly is awe-inspiring to see all the ancient arts still in existence.

  15. To stand on Mt. Nebo and know that you were seeing the same sights as Moses must have been quite an experience. That Mosaic Map is also very interesting. I didn’t realize that’s how mosaics were made. For some reason, I thought they just laid stones and cemented them in as they went. Thanks for the education.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..The Early Days of American Roadtrips: Part 2My Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Michele,
      Yes, being on Mt. Nebo was quite an experience. We had the same thought as yours about mosaic making and it was truly interesting to see how they were really made.

  16. Bama

    Ahh Marisol, stop torturing me with your photos from Jordan! :) The more I learn about the country through your posts, the more I want to go there soon.
    Bama recently posted..Lombok Beaches Part 1: Changing FacesMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Ha! Ha! Bama, it’s my intention to torture you! You have to go there soon!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Arianwen, I read that the Romans were the ones who developed the art of mosaic making. It truly is a slow process but the end products are always amazing.

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Alex,
      Are you going soon??? OH, you and your camera will love it there. And if you love mosaic arts, there are tons of them in Jordan to enjoy.

  17. I have only been to Israel as a very small girl and hardly remember it and I would love to see more biblical sights in person now as an adult. I really loved looking through your photographs. Thank you for linking up with Belinda and I for Travel Tuesday!

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose

  18. Renuka

    Oh wow…I am amazed to see all the biblical places! They are awesome!
    Renuka recently posted..A Tale Of Two CitiesMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge