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

A Fantastic Foray

[Day 8 – Óbidos, Alcobaça, Batalha, and Fátima]

Óbidos
Viewing from a ledge
Walled village of Óbidos
Perfect for parkour.

Alcobaça
A monastery,
Splendid Gothic monument
Houses royal tombs.

Batalha
A UNESCO site,
Another monastery
Preserved very well.

Fátima
Visions of Mary,
Catholic pilgrimage site;
Many faiths pray here.

In case you missed . . .
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

The Knights that Went Dark

[Day 7 in Tomar]

Once headquartered in Tomar,
The Order of the Knights Templar
Overcame Islamic domination in Portugal;
They were rewarded the castles of Almourol,
Monsanto, and Pombal.

Faced with perceived heresy,
And political upheaval,
The once mighty warrior monks’
Reputation and status were all laid lower
When the jealous King of France
Persuaded the Pope to destroy the Order.

In case you missed . . .
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Bend the Knee in Braga

Day 5 was a déjà vu at the São Bento train station, where we boarded the 8:15 a.m. suburban train to Braga. We spent the whole day at a baroque capital founded by the Romans, who named it Bracara Augusta, and now referred to as Braga. Renowned for its numerous churches and nearby Bom Jesus do Monte pilgrimage center, Braga is home to the first cathedral in Portugal.

In case you missed . . .
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4