Jordan Journey: Madaba/Jerash

4 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

As my stay in Jordan neared the end, I looked forward to yet another important historical treasure – the ancient city of Jerash, considered to be one of the best preserved Greco-Roman provincial towns in the world. Dating back more than 6,500 years ago, Jerash was a thriving city due to its proximity to popular trading routes. The walled city was at its best around AD 130 during Emperor Hadrian’s rulership.

Welcome to Jerash:

Overview of the ancient ruins:

Colonnaded streets:



Public buildings:

Hadrian’s arch:

Oval plaza: 

Sanctuary of Zeus:

South amphitheater:

Temple of Artemis: 

   Artifacts:

The hippodrome:

Good-bye, Jerash:

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped by St. Georges Church in Madaba.

To see the beginning:
Wadi Rum
Petra
Madaba

Jordan Journey: Madaba

3 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

Circled in black below are the places we visited while in Jordan. We covered a lot of ground for seven days. After the four days spent between Wadi Rum and Petra, we headed toward the town of Madaba, one of Jordan’s major centers of Christianity with a large Greek Orthodox community. At one time, Madaba was famous for being part of a bishop’s jurisdiction during Emperor Justinian’s reign in the Byzantine times.

As we traveled toward our next tourist attraction – Karak Castle – our tour guide spoke about the Muslims and their beliefs. Originally, I was going to list the interesting points he made to dispel some wrongly held notions about Muslims, but I wanted to learn more. Of the various sites, I settled on this link:  https://ing.org/top-100-frequently-asked-questions-about-muslims-and-their-faith/

In time, I will seek more to further educate myself about the subject. But a key point I want to note now is one of this religion’s fundamental values – namely, “affirming and upholding the sanctity of all human life, taking of which is among the gravest of all sins.” This value is universal to nearly all religions, but some of us non-Muslims may not readily attribute such value to Islam because of “terrorist acts committed in the name of Allah.” Our tourist guide, a Muslim himself, wanted to remind us that there is nothing religious or sacred about purposely taking another life, and that such actions taken by others in the name of religion have been considered fundamentally wrong by most religions throughout history.  Unfortunately, for political and power struggle purposes, man tends to justify his violence to gain a following by claiming to act on God’s behalf. Case in point is the Crusaders, which had a stronghold on a city called Karak. Within this city is Karak Castle, where we began our fifth day in Jordan after Petra.

Karak Castle and Karak Photos

After visiting Karak Castle, we went to Amman Beach Resort – Dead Sea, where we floated for a while in the mineral salts of the Dead Sea and later, some of us cooled off in the “sweet water” swimming pool. Meanwhile, several of us covered ourselves with the natural mineral rich mud, which quickly dried in the hot sun and was then washed off in the Dead Sea. A quick primer on the Dead Sea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea

Dead Sea Photos

Our last stop for the day was Mt. Nebo, a high hilltop vista and pilgrimage site where the prophet Moses is supposedly buried. In fact, you can see Israel on the distant horizon.

Mt. Nebo Photos

First days in Jordan:
Wadi Rum
Petra

Jordan Journey: Petra

2 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

The next two days have us exploring Petra, which UNESCO designated as a World Heritage site in 1985 and describing it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.”

Like Wadi Rum, Petra has been used as a setting in many well-known movies. Although there were already a handful of movies filmed in Petra before Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Petra gained more attention after the Indiana Jones movie.

Since our first day in Petra was just half a day, which was good for getting to know the general layout, the next day was for real exploration. Our goal was to climb nearly every major monument or temple despite the 100-degree F which seemed to grow hotter with every passing hour. And climb we did. For example, there were about 800 steps up to the ruins known as the High Place of Sacrifice, and even more needed to get to the Monastery, a beautiful tomb carved into the side of the stone mountain top. However, we ended up climbing even more steps to see the Royal Tombs close-up, each one situated on its own perch with even more steps needed to get there.

After exploring Petra for close to 10 hours, we raced to the new Petra Museum before it closed for the day. We had a little over half an hour to wind down in the air conditioning to learn more about the ancient culture, which thrived about 2,000 years ago. The day ended with my legs feeling like rubber bands. My feet seemed like they had a life of their own, as they just passed out on me not too long after I reached the hotel, which was walking distance from Petra.

To see 1st post:
Wadi Rum

Jordan Journey: Wadi Rum

1 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

 Right after Egypt, we flew to Jordan, where we took in another week’s worth of breathtaking sights. Our stay in the beautiful city of Amman was brief, as we soon set out on a ~5-hour drive to Wadi Rum, the desert setting of Lawrence of Arabia’s autobiographical book and consequently, the film that was based on his life. Since then, other movies have been filmed in Wadi Rum (e.g., a couple of Star Wars movies, Dune, Prometheus).

As soon as we reached the park, we transferred to several 4-wheel drive vehicles that we rode through the desert to get to our camp. We spent two days in Wadi Rum and slept in Bedouin tents. Among other activities, we went on a nine-mile trek on the second day.

Next:
Petra

Exploring Egypt: Luxor

6th of a series on my 7-day stay in Egypt

City full of shrines,
Magnificent artifacts,
Temple of Karnak.

The Temple of Karnak
The Temple of Karnak is a large, well-preserved complex of monuments that honor various pharaohs. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Karnak Temple has an impressive collection of pylons, massive stone obelisks, and chapels.  Sad fact: More Egyptian obelisks today are found outside of Egypt, like in Paris, than in Egypt itself.

Animal Care in Egypt
The tour company we used has a charitable stake in this organization, so we stopped by the Animal Care in Egypt facility to see how the animals are given care and treatment. Many locals depend on ACE to help heal their donkeys, horses, and other animals.

From ACE’s website (https://www.ace-egypt.org.uk/): “Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) is a charity dedicated to helping stop the suffering of thousands of animals in the poorest communities of Luxor by providing free veterinary care and education.”

To see the beginning:
1st day: Old Cairo
2nd day: Giza/Cairo
3rd day: Aswan
4th day: Abu Simbel
5th day: Nile River

Exploring Egypt: Aswan

3rd of a series on my 7-day stay in Egypt

Took train to Aswan,
Southernmost part of Egypt,
Traveled thirteen hours.

From mainland to isle,
Boated to Philae Temple–
Temple of Isis.


Next sights were High Dam
And Unfinished Obelisk,
An ancient ruin.

Our Nubian host
Talked about their history,
And prepared a feast.

Next day:
Abut Simbel

To see the beginning:
1st day: Old Cairo
2nd day: Giza/Cairo