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30 YEARS OF Restoration Works by the the mosaic of the Church of St.

osaic of the Church of St. George and that of the Priest SOEL - KAIUM - ELIAS
Franciscan Archaeological Institute on Mount Nebo John have been removed from their original bedding and laid the Christian Mosaicists of Madaba
on new ones.
The restoration, funded by Italy, the Danish Palestine who decorated the Baptistry of the
The rebirth of the modern Sanctuary of Moses on Mount
Nebo goes back to July 1933 when the first archaeological Society and private donations is directed by the Franciscan Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo
campaign by the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of the Archaeological Institute and carried out by mosaicists
Custody of the Holy Land was undertaken. During three Antonio Vaccalluzzo from Ravenna and Franco Sciorilli from
long campaigns in 1933, 1935 and 1937 the Memorial of Rome with the collaboration of the Bilad esh-Sham Project
Moses was unearthed and in and the Madaba Mosaic School.
1935 the exploration of Khirbat
el Mukhayyat (identified as
the ancient town of Nebo)
brought to light three mosaiced

• Restoration works
The first shelter for the
protection of a mosaic was
built by the Franciscans in
1935 on the church of Saints
Lot and Procopius. In 1963 the
Franciscans decided to cover
also the Memorial of Moses on
the peak of Siyagha to give the
possibility to the pilgrims to
stop and pray at this shrine.
Fr. Virgilio Corbo started the
restoration of the mosaic floors
of the Baptistry and the Chapel
of the Theotokos. After the
interruption due to the 1967
war the work was taken up again
in 1973 by Fr. Michele Piccirillo.
During the summer of 1976
the Franciscan archaeologists
undertook the restoration of
the mosaic floors at Siyagha, and at one metre under the THE UPPER MOSAIC FLOOR OF THE PRIEST
upper mosaic of the northern chapel, they discovered one JOHN CHAPEL AT KHIRBET AL-MUKHAYYAT
of the most beautiful mosaic floors of Jordan made by three dates to the middle of the VIth century and owing to
mosaicists of the School of Madaba. its beauty and rich motifs had been chosen to represent the
The renewed Madaba Mosaic School was opened in 1992, mosaics of Madaba in the exhibition of the mosaics of Jordan
as an italo-jordanian project presented to the two governments which toured Europe during several years (1986-1993). Lately
by the Franciscan Archaeological Institute on Mount Nebo, to it has been restored to its original state.
bring back to life the mosaic art and for the restoration and
conservation of the numerous ancient mosaics of the region.

• Ongoing works
The only mosaic which could be preserved “in situ” inside
Franciscan Archæological Institute - Mount Nebo
P.O.Box 2 Faysaliyah - 17196 Madaba - Jordan
Their Masterpiece discovered thirty years ago
by the Franciscan Archaeological Institute
the Basilica is that of the old Baptistry. For restoration purposes www: was followed by thirty years of restoration work

Personal Offices of His Majesty Hussein I

Amman, October 8th 1998

Dear Father Piccirillo

His Majesty King Hussein I has commanded me

to thank you most sincerely for the kind gift of the
specially bound copy of your latest book Mount Nebo.

I would also like to confirm taht His Majesty has

taken up your point cencerning a Royal Decree to
declare the Mountain of Nebo a National Park at the
highest level and I have the pleasure in enclosing
copies of the correspondence in Arabic which relate
to this. However, basically, the Prime Minister has set
up a technical committee to make the two regions of
Umm al-Rasas and Mt. Nebo a conservation area and
they have already finished part of the work. Also, the
Minister of Tourism is asking the Prime Minister to
form another technical committee from the Ministry
of Tourism & Antiquities, the Ministry of Municipality
Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Municipality
of Amman so that they will finish and prepare the
necessary planning documents for Mt. Nebo.

I do hope that the above eases your deep concern

and we will of course keep you informed of all major

AT KHIRBAT AL-MUKHAYYAT (TOWN OF NEBO) Once again on behalf of my father, His Majesty,
three churches and a small monastery have been ex- thank you for your continuing generosity, friendship,
cavated to date: the church of St. George, built in 536 support and genuine concern for our natural
AD, mosaiced by Naouma, Kiriacos and Thomas; the treasures.
church of Sts. Lot and Procopius built and mosaiced Yours sincerely
in 557 AD, the church of Amos and Casiseos with the
adjoining chapel of the Priest John, the latter being HRH Princess Zein bint Al-Hussein
mosaiced at the end of the Vth century and in 565 AD.

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