Coming from Amman, we chose to go to Mount Nebo first, then to Madaba passing by the Nebo Pearl, a big tourist souvenir store. The Mount Nebo site was renovated for about ten years before re-opening in 2016. A new church has been built on the original ruins which still serve as a foundation. The result is a really nice, light-flooded building showing many huge, impressive mosaics while still preserving original walls and pillars. Next, to the church, there is also a small museum explaining the history of the site and its surroundings
Outside you have a nice view on the mountains of the holy land. When you go to Madaba, either from the Dead Sea or Amman, it is definitively worth a visit. I found it even more impressive than the world map mosaic in Madaba.
On our way back to Madaba we stopped by the Nebo Pearl, a huge souvenir store selling all kinds of typical Jordanian/Arab souvenirs. Next, to the obvious mosaics that you can watch being created there, you will find other typical souvenirs such as carpets, furniture, pottery, jewelry, lanterns and so on. However, the store is extremely overpriced and the prices are close to the more expensive ones near the Kempiski/Dead Sea and another one next to 5th circle in Amman. If you are looking for savings, you might wanna explore some other souvenir stores in Down Town Amman, Rainbow Street or one of the many Al-Afghani Bazaar stores in Amman.
In Madaba, we visited the St. Gorges Church to see the map mosaic. It was quite interesting but also not so overwhelming. The mosaic probably used to be much bigger some time and nowadays, certain parts have been covered with carpets, so that guests in the church don’t step on parts of the mosaic.
Before wandering along the main tourist street with the shops, we took lunch at one of my favorite Jordanian restaurants – Haret Jdudna, also see my post on Arabic Food. The tourist stores, again offer a wide variety of jewelry, mosaic artworks, clothes, embroidery items, and some antique stuff. At some of our visits, we bought a carpet at Carpet city, a typical Jordanian style Kelim.
For more information on Madaba and surroundings see the Visit Madaba Website.
If you would like to see something different in Madaba, why not visiting Kawon, the first bookstore in Madaba, which was opened by Ghaith Bahdousheh. It is actually much more than a bookstore as it serves as a community center, provides a study room, has a garden to relax and is just a welcoming space.