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Aaron's Tomb, Petra

Of the mountains that encircle the great bowl of Petra, none is more commanding than Aaron's Mountain (Jabal Harun). At 1350 meters above sea-level it is the highest peak in the area; and it is a place of great sanctity to the local people for here, it is believed, Moses' brother Aaron (pbut) died and was buried. A 14th century mosque stands here with its white dome visible from most areas in and around Petra.

The white dome of Aaron's Tomb, Petra

Biblical scholars and archaeologists may question whether Jabal Harun is the Mount Hor of the Old Testament, but the story of Aaron's death fits potently with this mountain. Around it lies the turbulent beauty of the eastern escarpment of the rift valley, and from it we look westwards across Wadi Araba to the pitiless Negev Desert and the biblical Wilderness of Zin.

Any expedition to Jabal Harun must be undertaken in the spirit of a pilgrimage, for this is holy ground to the people of Petra. Past the enigmatic Snake Monument, the path crosses open, rolling and slightly rising ground. This was as far as Burckhardt was able to come, and here he sacrificed his goat in sight of the prophet's shrine, just after sunset.

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