Treasures of Jordan

On impulse, I decided to spend two days in Jordan from Tel Aviv on a trip booked through Abraham Tours.  We crossed the northern border on the way into Jordan to visit the ruins of Jerash and Amman.  Then we came back through the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge crossing after visiting Petra and staying overnight in a Bedouin camp. We had an intense but enjoyable two days.   I always felt safe.  Our group of 11 was assigned a tourist police who escorted us from the moment we left Amman until we approached the Dead Sea highway towards the King Hussein Crossing.  Ali, our guide, is very knowledgeable and super easy to talk to. He also has the patience of a saint.

The stories of our trips will be posted below and in the next post. I hope you love Jordan as much as I do.

Jerash

Jerash in my view is one of the hidden treasures of Jordan. People always talk about Petra (deservedly so) and Jerash is its lesser known cousin.  Both are worth to be visited.

I am very impressed with the restoration works that have been done in Jerash, except one caveat: I wish the build a roof over the beautifully restored mosaics on the floor of the Church of Saints Cosmas and Damianus from the Byzantine era (533 AD).

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Restored mosaic on the floor of Church of Saints Cosmas and Damianus.

The western “cardo” (street) and the oval plaza are impressive seen from the Temple of Zeus or the theatre.

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The cardo (street) and the oval plaza of Jerash. The ruin is now surrounded by the modern city of Jerash.

The gate of Herod and the adjacent hippodrome are the welcoming committees when one enters from the South of the city.

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The gate of Herod and the adjacent Hippodrome.

3-4 hours are needed to calmly absorb the complex. As part of our program, we spent about 1h and 30min. It was too rushed, but we saw the highlights.  I love this place.

Amman

Our visit in Amman is also quite rushed. We went to Amman Citadel to appreciate the Roman ruins and from its location above the hill, we can see East Amman busy streets and residential buildings, and the Roman theatre.

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A neighborhood in Amman built around the ancient Roman theatre, seen from the Amman Citadel.

The citadel is a witness to the many ancient civilizations that have occupied Amman until its present day inhabitants. Amman, used to be called “Philadelphia” by the Romans.

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Amman Citadel

We left Amman via the main road called Al Hashemi to pass the Souk (shopping street) to head South towards the desert highway to Petra (3.5 hours approximately).  We stopped by to have our kunefe at Green Valley on this street (more on this in the next post).

Bedouin Camp

We stayed in a Bedouin-style camp ten minutes from Petra called “Seven Wonders”. It was a wonderful place, except that I did not pack any jacket as I did not plan on doing this.  Staying in a 4-star hotel near Petra was an option, but what was the fun in that??

The tent was constructed from heavy duty tarp with metal frame. My tent had a bit of a draft, but the rest of the crew had no complaints. They had proper jackets and perfectly constructed tents 😂. The four fleece blankets provided were too warm for them. Meanwhile, I had no jacket or fleece or sweatshirts and had to deal with the draft from the side and below of the bed. I took two extra blankets and put them on the side of the bed near the tent edge. It helped. I slept decent given the chill and the dogs barking.

The camp had electricity in the morning and evening (until around 11pm).  They had clean shared toilets and showers. The water was nice and hot. The problem is after the shower when one dries oneself and tries as fast as she could to put on the clothes.  The best part is after dinner (dinner discussed below) when we sat in another tent on the mat and pillows near the burning fire and electrical sockets (how romantic) drinking sweetened tea with sage. The camp had wi-fi, but as everyone tried to get on, I gave up and just enjoyed the moment.

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Gathering at the common tent after dinner for wi-fi and chai at the Bedouin Seven Wonders Camp near Petra.

On a side note though, that night there were only about 20-25 guests. The camp is quite big and I was told can accommodate up to 120 people. On a high season, I would probably prefer to stay in a hotel with own bathroom.

We had so much fun on our first day in Jordan, but the best is yet to come.

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