Near Amman in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is the peak known as Mount Nebo. This is not one of the highest mountains in the world: it stands a mere 817m in height, which means it does not owe its repute to its stature. Rather, its popularity stems from its supposed place in Biblical scripture and Jewish history.
It is necessary to note, for the sake of scientific clarity, that there are still a good number of scholars and historians who contest the matter of whether or not this is the same Nebo as the one referred to in the Old Testament or Torah. Given how much topographic designations can vary and how difficult it can be to properly identify the actual locations for such ancient texts as the ones involved, there may well always be some doubts about the matter. That said, it is perhaps not solely-or not even primarily-a question of factual precision here. For most, the current Mount Nebo is the same mountain as the one mentioned in the literature, and thus is it treated.
This peak is perhaps known for being mentioned in the Old Testament as the place where Moses viewed the Promised Land prior to his expiration. This gives it particular importance not only to the Jewish peoples but also to Christians all around the world. Pope John Paul II came here in the year 2000, as did his successor, Benedict XVI. The former planted an olive tree while the latter delivered a speech from the peak. There is also a Memorial Church of Moses that stands here now to commemorate that event, and it stands over an even older structure, a triple-apse(vault) church built on the peak in the 4th century.
The church’s ruins were discovered here in the 1930’s, and of particular interest is that several mosaics of the floors are still intact. It was a sanctuary at first, according to archaeologists, before it was enlarged and converted into a proper basilica in the 6th century. It became a common pilgrimage site then, complete with an attached monastery and baptisteries. The order that discovered it, the Franciscans, have retained a presence in the area, with the Franciscan Archaeological Institute headquarters being on Mount Nebo to this day.
Beyond this, there is also a common belief that this mountain holds the fabled Ark of the Covenant of the Israelites. The point of reference here is a line in Maccabees, and there are many who hold to this idea-though of course no one has found said ark on the mountain yet. If you come to Mount Nebo, you can surely indulge in a bit of hunting for it if you feel up to the task, besides visiting all the other places of interest in the area. For instance, there is a serpent around a pole structure on the peak-a nehushtan in Hebrew lore or caduceus in Greco-Roman-that was put up here by an Italian sculptor. It is called the Brazen Serpent Cross and is a popular subject of photographers. 1km away from the peak is also the Spring of Moses. Clearly, this is one of the best places to go to in Jordan if ever you are in the area.