After a rejuvenating day in the Dead Sea and a wonderful stay overnight, we left the Holiday Inn Resort and proceeded to the City of Madaba and Mount Nebo.
Our first stop was Mount Nebo which is now owned by the Franciscan Fathers. It is here I learnt that Mount Nebo has been a part of the traditional Christian pilgrimage path. There is a church which is being renovated and there is an exhibition which show cases the mosaic floors which had been laid thousands of years ago.
This is also the place from where Moses had a view of The Holy Land.
En route to Madaba, we visited a Mosaic Workshop. A supervisor there, explained the process of laying mosaics and how the final product comes about. It is amazing what one can come up with stones of different colours and sizes. Lots of effort goes into the cutting of the stones and their placement. Getting a coaster or a small wall hanging done in mosaics takes a couple of weeks. One can only imagine the amount of work that has one into creating entire floors out of mosaics. The floors are always theme-based and you can figure out the effort that goes with that. A completed table top in mosaics:
One more thing that was popular in the work shop was the artwork done on the Ostrich Eggs. The yolk is removed from the egg by making a hole and then a chemical is sprayed inside so that the egg shells become sturdy to handle. Then the pictures are made on the egg shell by using needles. This process is called pointillism. The piece which we bought was the most expensive one at the workshop but we couldn’t resist buying this ( even though it meant the rest of the tour was to be on a shoestring budget). This piece has 5 different themes – a geographical pattern on the top, a Bedouin wedding procession with the bride on the camel, the wine making process , a hunting scene and the Tree of Life of Madaba. Every theme has been done with the tip of the needles and must have taken months to finish. Moreover, this piece was done by handicapped students and I did my bit to help them. I am glad I did . Now this piece occupies a special place in my heart and my show case. (Btw, as per the Supervisor, the ostrich egg is so strong that it will not break even if a camel stands on it). So, this is my most expensive buy till date:
After the tour of the workshop and some souvenir shopping, we went to the Madaba City. Enroute to the city we some lovely villas. They were so beautifully decorated that I wished I lived in one of those. We visited the Greek Orthodox Church in the city which housed the Map of the Holy Land made in mosaic. Again, this was made some thousand of years ago. Sadly, only one-third of the entire map had been recovered. It is so amazing that the map is so precise and different colours of stone has been used to represent different geographical features. Here, in this photo below you can see a portion of the map.
Content after having visited a traditional pilgrimage path, we settled down to a long journey to Petra where The Petra Kitchen was awaiting us with its Arabic Cuisine Cooking Classes.
My next post will be on the Cooking class along with my favourite recipe from the menu. Watch out for this space!!!!