If you’re like me, and you hear “life-size” and “diorama” in the same sentence, your heart starts to flutter, your respiration increases and you just hope against hope that the “zany” will prevail. Well, have no fear, La Storia Tourism Complex does not disappoint.
First off, I just have to say that we’ve lived here for over two years, and I’m surprised and a little annoyed that we hadn’t heard of La Storia before. But no matter, we’re over that and subsequently packed up the kids, and trekked out in the direction of Mount Nebo.
Conveniently, La Storia is located just a mile from the Mount Nebo site (it will be on the right as you’re heading to Nebo). If you still happen to miss it, the coordinates are 31°46'2"N, 35°44'32"E, and their contact information is www.lastoria-nebo.com, ph. 0777288886.
Their brochure states, “The museum offers an unforgettable experience of the religious, historical and cultural heritage of Jordan and the region and take a walk in the streets of a Jordanian village to discover the style of ancient houses and ancient crafts….” I cannot agree more that it’s truly an unforgettable experience.
You start off walking past life-size dioramas depicting the stories of Noah, Mary and Joseph and the wise men, John the Baptist (getting tortured in jail), the parting of the Red Sea, and even the Last Supper.
This is followed by a really nice display of old photographs and old clothing and some intricate scale models of the Kaaba and the Dome of the Rock.
From here, you enter the animated portion; think "It's a Small World" but life-size and all in Bedouin garb (and without the catchy tune). You begin the tour through the “village” life with a festive tent full of musicians and happy people grinding grain and churning butter.
From there you move on into the "village" past a variety of scenes, including a khodarji (vegetable seller), a bread seller, a cobbler, a cafe, a school, and even a masseuse. The expressions on the villagers range from sleepy to bemused to mildly unnerving.
As you walk around, be sure to look all over. There are villagers staring down at you from balconies, there's a one-legged woman cooking over a fire, and there's even a weaver who looks strangely like Rasputin.
There's also someone peeking out at you from under a manhole cover. When we asked about the peeking person our self-appointed guide said, "Oh, that's just to be funny." Hmmm.
When you've had your fill of "village life", you can exit and walk across the way to a large building where you first see artists working painstakingly on intricate mosaics and then you walk into a very large shop that sells everything from mosaic tables and mirrors, to inlay furniture, clothing, jewelry, toiletries, ceramics, toys, etc. They also have a cafe, but there wasn't much on offer when we were there.
So, whether you tack it on to your next trip to Mount Nebo, or you make a specific trip just for it, checking out La StoriaTourism Complex is simply too odd, zany, kitschy, and wonderfully weird to miss (in my opinion); and that’s not just because of the person under the manhole cover.