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Petra Treasury BuildingTreasury Building. Petra

 

The Dead Sea, Jordan, March 2018

 

The Dead Sea

The Hilton Dead Sea Resort

 

The Dead Sea

 

The Dead Sea

The Hilton Dead Sea Resort, Jordan.  Israel in the background.

 

 

Jerash, Jordan (revisted), March 2018

 

Jerash 2018

Jerash

 

We were fortunate enough to revisit Jerash again for the first time since 1996.  Less than an hour from Amman and some of the best Roman ruins outside Ephesus.

 

Jerash 1996 Jerash 2018

Edward and Me, 1996                                                                                              Edward and Me, 2018

 

Jerash 1996

Clair and Edward 1996

 

Jerash 2018

Clair and Edward 2018

 

Jerash 2018

Jerash

 

Jerash 2018

Jerash

 

Jerash 2018

Jerash

 

Jerash 2018

Jerash

 

Jerash 2018

Arabic Lunch at Al Khalil Restaurant.

 

King Talal Dam

King Talal Dam, Jordan.

 

 

Madaba, Jordan, March 2018

 

"Go up unto....Mount Nebo, in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession.  There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die."  Deuteronomy 32:49-50

 

A short drive from Madaba is Mount Nebo, where many believe Moses was shown "the promised land" by God, shortly before he died.  He is believed to be buried nearby, but his grave has not been found.

 

Mount Nebo, Jordan

The Moses Memorial Church, Mount Nebo, Madaba.

 

 

Mount Nebo, Jordan Mount Nebo, Jordan

 

Mount Nebo, Jordan

The Moses Memorial Church, Mount Nebo, Madaba, Jordan

 

The Moses Memorial Church (or basilica) is perched on top of Mount Nebo and houses mosaics from around AD 530.  They are in amazing condition for their age.  The main mosaic shows a hunting and herding scene depicting Zebu (a type of ox), lions, zebras, tigers, bears, an ostrich on a leash and a camel shaped giraffe. 

 

 

Mount Nebo, Jordan Mount Nebo, Jordan

 

Mount Nebo, Jordan

Mount Nebo, Madaba, Jordan

 

The view from the summit of Mount Nebo provides a panorama of the Holy Land and a more limited view of the River Jordan valley. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is The Dead Sea and Jerusalem on a very clear day.  Our view of the promised land was certainly moving and spectacular, but unfortunately too overcast to photograph well.

 

Mount Nebo, Jordan Mount Nebo, Jordan

Shrine to John the Baptist, Madaba.                                                                  AD 560 Mosaic, St. George's Church, Madaba.

 

The Shrine to John the Baptist in Madaba is built over an ancient vaulted basement that has become the Acropolis Museum and houses a functional 3,000 year old well from the Moabite era. There are also local photographs from the early 20th century and the belfry is accessible up steep stairs and ladders to give a panoramic view of Madaba. 

 

St. George's Church in Madaba is a 19th Century Greek Orthodox Church built over the remnants of an old Byzantine Church.  The builders discovered a wonderful mosaic map dating from AD 560 of  the major biblical sites of the Middle East, from Egypt to Palestine. 

 

Shearaton, Amman

Another Birthday, Sheraton Hotel, Amman.

 

Kit Kat Restaurant Amman

Kit Kat Restaurant, Amman

 

 

Algiers, May 2018

 

Algiers

Algiers

 

Algiers

Algiers

 

My first trip to Algeria.  I’ve managed the country before, but the security was too poor for an actual visit, so I met the managers in Casablanca.  Security is much better and made an enjoyable business trip. 

 

Amman Airport Hamoud

Amman Airport, Business Class Lounge                                           Hamoud
 

Anybody notice anything unusual about the Royal Jordanian Business Class Lounge?  A Jordanian stood next to me said it was "reassuring.  We have to talk".

 

The Algerians are very proud of their soft drink "Hamoud".  It was very good, but turned out to be identical to an old English drink called Dandelion and Burdock.  It's interesting that we share this in common. 

 

Sheraton, Algiers

Sheraton Hotel, Algiers

 

The Sheraton Club de Pins Resort was very pleasant.  The sun shone and the Mediterranean gleamed but it was apparently too cold for anybody to use the pool. 

 

Sheraton Hotel, Amman

Sheraton Hotel, Amman

 

On retuning to Amman the pool at the Sheraton was equally cold and empty.  Perfect water temperature for me but too chilly for anybody else it seems.  We joined the health club and spa there, a short walk from our apartment. 

Aqaba, May 2018

Ayla Golf Course, AqabaAyla Golf Course, Aqaba
Movenpick Hotel, AqabaMovenpick Hotel, Aqaba

 

Ayla golf course, Aqaba

Ayla Golf Course, Aqaba

 

 

A short break in Aqaba to celebrate Clair's birthday.  It gave her the chance to assess the only championship golf course it Jordan.  It was as stunning as it was empty. 

 

Aqaba

Aqaba

 

 

The Dead Sea

The (shrinking) Dead Sea

 

The Dead Sea Spa hotel

The Dead Sea Spa Hotel

 

The drive back to Amman along the Dead Sea shore line allowed us to stop for lunch at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel.  For JD 20.000 they let you use their pool and beach facilities for the day. 

 

Umm Qais, June 2018

 

Umm Qais

Umm Qais

 

Umm Qais Map Umm Qais

Umm Qais / Gadara

 

Umm Qais is located in north west Jordan, near the borders of Israel, Palestine and Syria.  It contains the ruins of the Decapolis Roman city of  Gadara.  The ruins contain two amphitheatres (one of which sat 3,000 people), baths,  fountains and a basilica.  It is not nearly as impressive as Jerash but is compensated by fabulous views and is bordered by an abandoned Ottoman era village.  It may also have been where the Bible claims that Jesus performed one of his miracles, transferring demons from two men into a herd of pigs.

 

Umm Qais

Umm Qais Resthouse

 

The Umm Qais Resthouse is found amongst the Roman ruins, in a converted Ottoman house and has fabulous views overlooking: The Sea of Galilee; Golan Heights; Jordan Valley; The Peaks of Lebanon; Israel; Palestine and Syria.  It has an excellent reputation for serving high quality, local seasonal food, local wines and other alcoholic and soft drinks. We visited on a hot day during Ramadan and it was fully open and empty.

 

Umm Qais

View from Umm Qais Resthouse - The Sea of Galilee can be seen under the tree in the middle of the image. 

 

Petra, July 2018

 

Petra

Walk to Petra Site

 

Petra

Entrance to Treasury Building, Petra

 

Petra

Petra

 

Petra

Petra

 

Petra

Petra

 

Petra

Petra

 

Wadi Rhum - July 2018

 

Wadi Rhum

Wadi Rhum

 

 

Wadi Rhum

Wadi Rhum

 

Wadi Rhum

Wadi Rhum

 

Wadi Rhum

Wadi Rhum

 

Wadi Rhum

Wadi Rhum

 

 

Mount Nebo to Dead Sea

Road from Mount Nebo to Dead Sea
 

 

Mount Nebo to Dead Sea

Road from Mount Nebo to Dead Sea

 

 

Dead Sea - July 2018

 

Dead Sea

Clair in the Dead Sea

 

 

Jerash - July 2018

 

Jerash

Jerash

 

Jerash

Jerash

 

Desert Castle Route, The Eastern Desert - July 2018

 

The Eastern Desert route in Jordan, towards the Iraqi border, is the harshest and least populated part of Jordan. Along this route are dotted early Islamic inns, hunting lodges (often referred to as "Desert Castles") and bath houses. For those wishing to explore this part of Jordan there is a dedicated route, which can easily be completed in a day.

 

Desert Fort Route

Desert Forts Route

 

Qasr Mushatta (Arabic for "winter palace") dates from 740 AD but was never finished.  It is just beyond the north runway of Amman's main airport. 

 

Qasr Mushatta

Qasr Mushatta

 

 

Qasr Hraneh looks like a desert castle but is probably a type of conference centre or possibly an Inn.  It probably dates from the late 7th century.

 

Qasr Hraneh

Qasr Hraneh

 

Desert Fort

Qasr Hraneh

 

 

Qasr Amra was the highlight of the route.  It is small and easy to miss from the road.  It is a small bath house that made use of water in the nearby wadi.  What has put it on UNESCO's World Heritage Site list are the frescos covering the entire interior.  These include depictions naked men and women, which when built in early to mid 8th century, may have been considered unislamic.  The first Islamic edict ordered the destruction of images and in some Islamic countries this remains the case. It is surprising that they have survived.     

 

Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra

 

Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra

 

Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra

 

Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra

 

Qasr Azraq is the "Blue Fort" where T.E. Lawrence based his operations during the 1917-18 Arab Revolt. 

 

Qasr Azraq

Qasr Azraq

 

Qasr Hallabat is perhaps the most elaborate fort on the route but there is little left. A Roman fort was built here in the 2nd century but much of what left was built in the 8th century.

 

Qasr Hallabat

Qasr Hallabat

 

Qasr Hallabat

Qasr Hallabat

 

Dibeen - August 2018

 

Dibeen is just an hour north of Amman (near Jerash).  It is variously described as an area of beautiful, cool, fragrant hills, covered with Allepo Pine and evergreen oak trees.  It is home to 17 endangered species, including the Persian Squirrel. 

 

Debeen Jordan

Dibeen - a good picnic site in the shade of a small tree with panoramic views...........

 

Debeen, Jordan

.....although the walk there is disappointing....

 

 

I was here in 1975 on holiday from Baghdad with my sisters and parents, when we stayed in an mountain lodge. I was also here for a pleasant picnic in 1996, when on holiday from Jeddah with Clair and Edward.  On neither occasion can I remember being knee deep in litter.

 

 

Debeen, Jordan

Other areas of Dibeen were litter free

 

Littering is a problem in many areas around Dibeen, but Edward and I were able to find pleasant litter free spots to enjoy the cool mountain weather and beautiful scenery.  It is worth further exploration for nature walks and picnics.  But please take your litter home. 

 

Debeen, Jordan

Dibeen

 

Ajloun Castle - August 2018

 

 

Ajloun Castle

Ajloun Castle

 

Ajloun Castle was built in 1183 on the command of Salahuddin, as part of a major military tactic to prevent the expansion of Crusader territory in the region.  The castle protected communication routes between Damascus and the south of Jordan and secured the safety of pilgrims and trade travelling to the Hijaz.  It also protected nearby iron mines, necessary for making weapons.  A new tower and gate was added after which it suffered damage from Mongol attacks.  Restorations were done between 1259 and 1277. 

 

 

Ajloun Castle

Ajloun Castle

 

Ajloun Castle

Ajloun Castle

 

Ajloun Castle

Ajloun Castle

 

It sits at over 3,000 feet elevation, so is cool even in summer and looks down over a green and cultivated valley. It is near Jerash and Dibeen and a number of good restaurants, making the three a good day trip. 

 

Ajloun Castle

Edward at Ajloun Castle

 

Amman - August 2018

 

Cantaloupe Gastro Pub, Amman

Happy Hour, Cantaloupe Gastro Pub, Amman

 

Cantaloupe Gastro Pub Amman

View from Cantaloupe Gastro Pub, Amman

 

 

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