A Travellerspoint blog

Jerash - Day 14 Tuesday March 22

Jerash and the King’s Highway to Petra


View Egypt 03/2022 on Cybercsp's travel map.

Let’s begin with some photos of the breakfast buffet at the W Hotel. That is date yogurt and bread with honey on my plate.

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Taken from a rather dirty 26th floor window, here was our view of Amman.

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After we checked out of the W Hotel, we met our tour guide, Elias, in the lobby at 8 AM, and traveled north for about 45 minutes to the city of Jerash.

Did you know that from the 5th century BC to the 7th century AD, Amman was known as Philadelphia? We saw many references to this, including this one.

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We passed a number of coffee shops along the way. Each shop will have someone who stands outside and waves a silver tray to attract attention. My photo is a bit past the waving, but Charlie was able to capture one through the car windshield.

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Jerash has been described as the "best-preserved provincial Roman city in the world" and is nicknamed "the Pompeii of the East." (They might have added, "Pompeii without the oppressive sun, heat and lava.")

We entered Jerash through the imposing triple-arched gateway which was built to honor Emperor Hadrian.

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Here are ruins of a church with a tomb next to it.

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And would any Roman city be complete without an amphitheater? (I know, everyone was hoping for another one...)

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The acoustics were superb, as proven by this bagpipe and drum duo.

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Here are some of the other ancient sites that we viewed:

High on a hilltop are the remains of the Temple of Zeus.

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The Forum is surrounded by an Ionic colonnade. The flag of Jordan flies next to a platform where anyone was allowed to express their opinion, a la Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, London.

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At the midpoint of this columned road, we saw the foundations of the Tetrapylon that marked the intersections of the major trade routes: S/N to Damascus and E/W to the Western Gates to Israel.

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Here is the road to Damascus.

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Manhole covers were a thing even on ancient Roman streets.

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Elias insisted that I pose in the goddess niche. I am finally where I belong. <wink>.

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The Circus/Hippodrome was the site of chariot racing…

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…and remains of a porticoed market stand beside it.

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Time for a short break of fresh squeezed juices or Turkish coffee.

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Back in the van, we traveled along the historic King’s Highway, a trade route of vital importance in the ancient Near East, making our way to Madaba.

En route, we ascended Mt. Nebo, where Moses is believed to have died.

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The summit (2330 feet above sea level) afforded us panoramic views of the Jordan Valley. According to the Bible story, this is the site where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land before his death. On a clear day it is said that, like Moses, one can see Jerusalem...but this was not that day. Photos do not do justice to the view.

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We could see it clearly, but you might make out the Dead Sea here.

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At the highest point of the mountain, the Franciscans erected this structure to protect the remains of the 4th-century Byzantine church.

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The foundation of the church is original with restoration of the walls and ceiling.

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We visited the interior of the church. Note that the original columns are incorporated in the design.

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Of particular interest are the remains of intricate mosaic floors.

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There are remains of the Franciscan monastery.

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Here is an example of the type of stone that would be rolled to cover a tomb.

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Pope John Paul II planted this olive tree during his visit to the site.

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We enjoyed walking quietly on the grounds. There was a sense of peace and fantastic views.

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This column says simply, “God is love.” Beautiful and moving.

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We were treated to a home-cooked meal in a restored century-old home that was owned by Elias’ wife's family, and is now her restaurant.

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We began with assorted mezzes.

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For the main course, we enjoyed maqlouba, an upside down casserole with chicken, rice, and vegetables.

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Dessert featured date cookies and mint tea.

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After lunch, we visited St. George Church.

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Here is the church interior.

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The treasure here is the oldest-known map of the Holy Land, a 6th-century mosaic that depicts Biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine with 157 Greek captions. It served as a pilgrim's guide. While much has been lost, what remains is amazing.

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There were detailed mosaics throughout the church.

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I loved that the fence posts were designed as candles.

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We continued traveling along the King’s Highway to Petra, a ride of about three hours. Amazingly, as we crossed the desert, we had data access and caught up on the blog.

At 6 PM, we checked into the Mövenpick Hotel, which is ideally located across from the visitor’s entrance to ancient Petra.

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This evening, we dined at the Petra Kitchen for a hands-on culinary experience. Under the (close) supervision of a skilled chef, we prepared a variety of traditional Jordanian dishes. We enjoyed the fruits of our labors for dinner. I can only hope that Charlie will transfer his new skills to our kitchen.

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Photos are tagged Jordan, Jerash, Mount_Nebo, Madaba and Petra

Posted by Cybercsp 12:04 Archived in Jordan Tagged jordan petra jerash madaba mount_nebo

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EXACTLY where you belong!

by Daniella Zmora

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