On the outskirts of Petra, a prominent mountain peak stands like a beacon, the whitewashed structure on its top marking the borders of the city. Throughout time, mountaintops here have attracted the spiritual longings of people, who built altars, temples, shrines and memorials on the high places. This summit claims a more prestigious heritage than most: it’s the traditional burial place of Aaron, brother of Moses.
The biblical account, typically, does not specify the location of “Mount Hor,” but places it on the border of Edom, the kingdom found in this region contemporary to the writing of Numbers. However, since at least the seventh century, devotees of Abrahamic faiths have favored this mountain as the place where Aaron ceremonially passed the priesthood on to his sons before passing away. While scholars and history enthusiasts examine historical arguments in favor of other mountains as candidates for Mt. Hor (including Mt. Zin in the Negev desert), tradition has left JebelHaroun uncontested by most.
A few hours’ walk and a substantial climb from the center of Petra, the mountain’s top offers views over the surroundings of southwestern Petra, and features the ruins of a Byzantine monastery as well as the distinct, small white mosque that makes the promontory especially noticeable from a distance. Be sure to bring plenty of water for the hike up this remote trail!