Bible - pilgrims
From the mute testimony of scattered dolmens and menhirs it is certain that the
ridge of Nebo was inhabited from remote antiquity. However, its real fame is
derived from the biblical event that occurred upon it as described in the Book
of Deuteronomy: the death of the prophet Moses.
Until Byzantine times the name Nebo was also given to the fortified village
that sits astride the peak of el-Mukhayyat. In the Old Testament this ancient
village is mentioned along with other cities of Moab such as Madaba. El Ale and
Heshbon. In fact the Bedouins of the region have preserved the name to this
day. On the Siyagha peak the Christians of long ago constructed a memorial
church in honour of Moses in an obvious effort to perpetuate in stone the
memory of the biblical episode.
It has been possible for archeologists to identify this sanctuary, thanks to
the records left by two pilgrim-visitors of the fourth and fifth centuries of
their travels in this region. One of these was the celebrated Egeria. The
second is the Monophysite bishop of Gaza. Peter the Iberian, to whom we are
indebted for the description of the Nebo church and for the story of the
miraculous origin of the shrine and the veneration it enjoyed among the
Christians of the region.