The Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo has reopened its doors to the public amid festivities, after nearly a decade of restoration. Believed by ancient tradition to be the site where Moses saw the Promised Land and died, a church and monastery are perched atop this 3,300-foot rugged mountain facing the northern end of the Dead Sea.
It has drawn Christian pilgrims throughout the centuries and is considered one of the most important pilgrimage, tourist, and archaeological sites in Jordan and the Holy Land. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the special envoy of Pope Francis and prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, said he was thrilled to officiate at a place of great spiritual significance to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike.
“The spiritual treasures that this place holds today are returned to Jordan and to humanity,” Cardinal Sandri told a gathering of some 500 dignitaries, including Jordanian Tourism Minister Lina Annab, Bedouin leaders, foreign diplomats and top Catholic officials in the Middle East. Excavations led by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, which acquired the area in 1932, have uncovered significant remains of an early basilica – built in 597 on fourth-century church foundation – and Byzantine mosaic pavements. However, a simple structure sheltering these important finds was crumbling and needed to be replaced to protect the treasures it housed.
“I am very happy to represent here the Holy Father Francis and to be in the place of Moses when he received only the vision of the Promised Land,” Cardinal Sandri told reporters as he viewed a sunset of purples and reds in the direction of Jerusalem.
Picture: Restored mosaics are seen on display in front of the Memorial of Moses on the top of Mount Nebo in Jordan. The memorial has reopened its doors to the public amid festivities after a nearly decade of restoration.