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Hisban Roman Road

Click here for pictures of the walk.

Getting there

The turning for Mushaggar (various spellings) is off the Na'ur-Madaba road, about 2 km south of Hisban. Turn east at the sign for Mushaggar, and follow the 2 lane road for about 5km.

Beginning the Walk

Park beside the rough track shortly after the Min. of Ag. sign.

You can either follow the track you are now on for about 1.5 km, or as soon as you pass the wall, drop down and join the lower track. After another 1 km the two tracks meet.

Note the few remaining carved stones at the junction of the two tracks. This would have been a good lookout point for the plain below.

Continuing due west after the tracks meet, the route descends quite steeply, and then traverses a plain in which two rounded hills are prominent.

Settlement As the next ridge is approached the path swings around to the left. Swing off the track to the right, by some large boulders, almost keeping a straight line, and look for some signs of the Roman Road foundations.

Follow the line of it over the small ridge, and in front of you - on its own ridge - is the fort. Between you, in the dip, are three or four pieces of ancient milestones, and other carved stones. The area gives the impression that there was a settlement outside the fort.

Fort The fort (pre-Roman?) has walls that are/were 2 meters thick, with towers at various corners. The first time I walked this route I passed below the wall without recognizing the fort for what it was. Its walls continue on the south (left) side of the track also. Observe another milestone on the slopes below you.

In the far west corner there is a cistern. Note that the area around it is subsiding.

Milestones Continuing from the fort, the road is obvious as it twists its way down the ridge. The colors of the exposed rocks remind you of Petra. As one descends the slope, on the left are a couple of well-preserved milestones.

At one point, coming off another ridge, one is looking down on a rounded hill of bare red sandstone. There seems to be some kind of construction on its top, but I have never actually climbed up to see. Maybe next time...

Below that hill note the stones that formed the foundation of the Roman road. When the rain comes the force of the water has washed away some of the road, but the shaped stones are fairly obvious.

Chapel Towards the end of the walk the road descends to a flat plain. As the plain comes in sight a small ruin is visible on the right. This seems to have been a chapel of some kind and is worth the short detour.

Excavations About 0.5km further there is a crossroads. To the left would take you towards Wadi Musa and the long uphill to Mount Nebo. The right seems to lead to an army base. Going directly forward the plain drops over an escarpment. Below you there is a bowl-shaped depression, with strangely shaped excavations. Proximity to the army base prompts a military explanation for the diggings. Exit the bowl at its lowest point, keeping to the right of the wadi, and contour around the hill, descending gradually. At this point you should be able to see a tall chimney and what looks like a brickworks. Work around to the right of this, and join the track that exits the north side of the compound.

Finishing The numerous irrigation channels look very random, but the water seems to know where it is going. Follow the road towards the bridge and note the ruin about 100m before the main Dead Sea highway.

Click here for a full-size version of this map in a separate frame (easier to print).

Click here for pictures of the walk.