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Set in a cliff overlooking the Lisan peninsula and the Dead Sea, Lot’s cave is by a centuries’ old tradition the site where Lot and his daughters sheltered after fleeing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Lot’s Cave and the Origin of the Moabites and the Ammonites

According to the bible, while sheltering in a cave near the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s two daughters spiked his drink, had sexual intercourse with him, and later gave birth to Moab and Ben Ammi, the forefathers of the Moabites and the Ammonite people. Presenting such a narrative, the bible aimed to diminish its neighboring cultures in Trans-Jordan.

The Site Becomes a Christian Monastery

In the Byzantine period Christian monks identified and sanctified the site, and built a monastic complex in front of the cave. It operated until the 8th, when the Muslims conquered the region.

lot cave museum hebrew funerary inscription

Although recorded by several Byzantine sources and even depicted in the ‘Madaba map’, only in 1986 archaeologists identified the site and excavated it. Becoming a historical landmark, the Jordanian reconstructed part of the monastery, and in 2011 opened a visitor center at its foothill. Titling itself “the Museum at the lowest place on Earth,” among others, the visitor center displays Jewish burial plaques from Nearby Zoar. This attests to a Jewish community that thrived in this region as well in the Byzantine period.

Lot’s Wife Pillar

Twenty-eight miles north of Lot’s Cave site, near the estuary of Wadi Mujib, locals point to a rock formation identifing it as Lot’s Wife Pillar (not to be confused with a similar site on the western side of the Dead Sea). Moreover, another rock formation nearby is said to be of two man kissing who in result also turned into stone.

A tour of Lot’s Cave site and regional museum can be combined with a multi-day tour of Jordan.

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