JORDAN, Arab heart and English brain

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references

Arab heart but English brain, all due to King Hussein who transformed a land of stones and sand into a stable and reliable country in balance between the West and the Arab world. Formed for 90% of arid areas, a single river, the Jordan, a coast on the sea of ​​only 25 km, forests that occupy only 1% of the territory, no `` black gold '', surrounded by nations in constant belligerent order, Jordan? a real survival miracle!
His story for? ? full of testimonies from the Paleolithic to the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine period, from that of the Umayyads to that of the Mamelukes, from the Ottoman dominion to the present day. Jordan? all to be discovered!

Amman - Jerash (Gerasa) - Ajlun - Madaba - Mount Nebo - Kerak - Petra - Wadi Rum - Aqaba - Dead Sea

1 day

29 April
We have chosen for this trip the tour operator Boscolo which enjoys a lot of respect. Our guide? Maher assisted by Evelina.
Our journey begins with a flight from Naples to Rome then on a Royal Jordanian plane we land in Amman, the ancient Roman Philadelphia, and with the Boscolo bus we reach the hotel, the Hirar Hotel, really excellent, and we, like often happens, a suite is assigned ...
Hearty dinner, no beer n? wine unfortunately strictly prohibited in Jordan, and briefing with the guide who informs us about the program for the next day, then to bed.

2 day

April 30 - Stop in Jerash (Gerasa).

Jerash in the past
Did the site already exist? in the Neolithic period and the first settlement of a certain importance occurred by the Greeks after the conquest by Alexander the Great; however Gerasa became really important only with the advent of the Romans following the conquest of the region by Pompey, in 64 BC
Gerasa was part of a commercial and military partnership together with nine other cities? called Decapolis and in the first century AD the city? it assumed the classic appearance and urban layout of the Roman era: a main colonnaded street in a north-south direction (cardo massimo) intersected by two streets oriented in an east-west direction (decumani).
After the Emperor Trajan, in 106, had annexed the Nabataean kingdom, in Gerasa increment? its riches and many buildings were replaced by others even more? imposing. The work continued? also during the government of Adriano who, in 129, visited? the city, and in his honor south of the city? a triumphal arch was built.
In 130 the city? it was inhabited by about 20.000 inhabitants.

Before entering the site we pass through a bazaar full of people and sellers of various souvenirs and with great surprise we drink a good coffee? made in the Italian way!
We meet an Arab boy 2.10 meters tall who greets us in Italian!
We begin the visit under a scorching sun ... is it very hot though? we are at the end of April, isn't it? advisable to go to Jordan in the height of summer! Along the way, short stops with Jordanian girls with an explanation of the guide on the situation of Palestinian refugees in Jordan: there are about 1 million!
Here is the list of the monuments visited:

Also known as the? Triumphal arch ?, it was built in ocher-colored stone, with refined decorations, in 129 AD to honor the arrival of the emperor Hadrian.

The structure pi? large of Gerasa (245 meters by 51 meters) which could accommodate 15000 spectators.

It was the entrance for those coming from Philadelphia (now Amman). On the pavement on the left you can still see the furrows left by the wagons.

One of the most famous monuments important erected between 162 and 163 AD on a pre-existing temple of the st century BC, it stands on a hill. On the terrace which is accessed via a monumental staircase, there are the remains of an altar probably belonging to the previous temple.

The pi? large, built between 90 and 91 AD. C. On the 32 rows of steps, some of which engraved with Greek letters to facilitate booking, sat 3500 spectators who could enjoy exceptional acoustics!

The Forum, a large ovoid square surrounded by Ionic columns, the pavement in limestone and with a colonnaded podium in the center.
We take the Cardo Maximus.

It houses the remains of columns, ceramics, mosaics and various objects.

The market in which goods for sale were conveyed: it was a market specialized in the retail sale of meat and fish.

The intersection of the Cardo with the southern decumanus built in the st century. Four massive square bases surmounted by four granite columns.

Probably built in 365, it is in a poor state of conservation but it is still possible to identify the basilica plan with three naves and apse.

Monumental fountain built in 191 consecrated to the deities? of the sources crowned by a half dome, from which the water fell and collected in a large pool, from which it flowed into the street below through the heads of seven lions. On the front a large pink granite basin from the Roman-Byzantine period.

Monumental staircase formed by seven flights of seven steps each leading to the temenos of the temple of Artemis.

The largest monument famous of Gerasa characterized by refined Corinthian columns of which some oscillate imperceptibly due to the perfect junction of the drums. They were therefore anti-seismic!
The guide demonstrates the extraordinary effect with a spoon inserted into a joint.

Modest construction of the second century commissioned by Claudio Severo and dedicated to his wife Giulia Domna, decorated with four pillars connected by arches and decorated with niches.

Built in about 115 commissioned by Claudio Severo and dedicated, it looks like a modest structure.

Was it the odeon of the city? built in 164-165 and held 2000 spectators. Each row of seats was dedicated to a deity? and every place? numbered or titled with the name of a tribe. A bagpipe / drum duo welcomes us. Inheritance? English.
The music ? Fra Martino campanaro ... strange ... White immortalized next to the? Piper? Jordanian!

We conclude the visit and go to lunch in a characteristic restaurant with many fountains. A cool environment after so much heat!
Obviously specialties? Jordanian!

A scenic drive takes us to Ajlun's Qalat (castle) one of the best examples of Arab military architecture. It stands on a mountain 1250 meters high from which the view sweeps from the Jordan valley to the heights of Galilee.
It was built by Izz ad-Din Osama, one of Saladin's generals in 1184 to control the local iron mines and avert invasion by the Franks, as the Crusaders were then called. Then, for centuries, it guarded the main caravan routes that led to the Jordan Valley and connected the Mediterranean with the Red Sea. Among the main features of Ajlun Castle: the moat, the drawbridge at the main entrance, a fortified gate, a south-facing tower and 4 other towers along the entire perimeter.
In 1260 the Mongols partially destroyed the fortress which was then partially rebuilt in the Mamluk era.
We cross the moat which was once equipped with a drawbridge, now replaced by a walkway that leads to the entrance and then to a large corridor with slits until we reach the second door of the th century. Pi? ahead a very high well of light shows the various levels of fortifications created to organize the defense in case of breaking of the first doors.
The castle hides a labyrinth of covered passages, spiral staircases, long ramps, rooms used as dining rooms, bedrooms and stables. But also private areas for the lords of the castle (equipped with a small stone basin and windows with slits).
Abandoned at the beginning of the thirteenth century, it was rediscovered in 1812 by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, the Swiss explorer who was responsible for the rediscovery of the city. of Petra, on its journey to the land of the Nabataeans.
At the exit we witness the dance of some Arab girls.
We go back to the hotel for dinner, tomorrow we will visit the Citadel that we will do alone, having given up the excursion to Bethany or to the castles in the desert that don't really interest us much.

3 day

1? May - Amman
Capital of the kingdom and capital of the homonymous governorate. Since 1947, when it had 90.000 inhabitants, it has experienced a very strong increase in population, especially due to the massive influx of refugees which occurred after the establishment of the State of Israel and after the war of June 1967 (1.155.000 in 2016).
? the largest industrial and commercial center in the country, with textile and food plants, cement factories, tobacco factories. In recent years, yes? developed a fair tourist movement. Road communications junction, reached by the Damascus railway which then continues south to Ras an-Naqb. In the surrounding region, phosphate extraction, the greatest local resource.
Gi? capital of the Ammonites with the name of Rabbat Ammon, in the first half? of the III century. BC it was called Philadelphia in honor of Ptolemy II Philadelphus who had rebuilt it.
* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Ammonites were an ancient population of Amorrean origin, who lived along the eastern banks of the Middle Jordan, where they settled during the age? del Ferro. Their capital was the city? of Rabbat Ammon, today Amman, in Jordan; it was an important hub for caravans and a notable commercial center. According to Genesis (19,30-38) the Ammonites (literally "sons of Ammon") descended from Ammon (perhaps the Egyptian Amon himself), son of Lot and brother of Moab, founder of the Moabites. After conquering the territories in which they settled, they allied with the Moabites to fight together against the Israelites, coming for? defeated by both Saul and David. Later they were conquered - together with the neighboring territories - by the various dominant Babylonian and Assyrian dynasties, then by the Persians and Romans. The Ammonites respected a polytheistic religion that saw as protagonist the god Milkom, little known from the archaeological point of view.
Aggregated under Rome to the province of Arabia, becoming part of the League of the Decapolis, constituted among the main cities? Hellenists in the region (some of which are now in Israeli and Syrian territory), united by commercial interests. Conquered by the Arabs in 635, it took the name of Ammon again, becoming one of the most? rich cities? caravan, thanks to its position on the road that linked Damascus, Bostra and Elat to the Red Sea. The arrival of the Abbasids, a Muslim caliphal dynasty that ruled? the Islamic world from 750 to 1258, port? the movement of the capital from Damascus to Baghdad that brought? to its slow decline and its abandonment in the thirteenth century. Until the arrival in 1880 of the Circassians, the Caucasian population fled Russia and was settled in Amman by the Ottomans. The rebirth of the city? it was in 1921 when Winston Churchill and Abdullah bin al-Hussein created the Arab national state of Jordan with Amman as its capital.
Amman? also called the City? White for its buildings mostly made with local white stone.

With a taxi we head to the Citadel and along the way we admire the beautiful King Abdullah mosque which is recognized by the imposing blue and white dome bordered by gold lines and flanked by two minarets. For Muslims in prayer the chromatic variation of the dome symbolizes the sky and the gold rays the sun that illuminates Allah. The octagonal plan instead recalls the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Made in a contemporary style, the work nevertheless reflects the most traditional tradition. antique for interior decorations.
We arrive at the Citadel, the taxi ride costs us just 3 JD (Jordanian Dinars) in practice less than 4 euros!

The Citadel (Jebel al-Qalah).
IS? located on the top of the highest hill high among the 7 on which the city develops, at about 850 meters above sea level, and offers a 360 degree view of the crowded houses of the center, which climb the hills. Here you can? enjoy the view of much of the capital of Jordan while walking through the ancient history of the country. IS? the hour of prayer and the call of the muezzin spreads in the air with a suggestive echo! In the Citadel the excavations have found remains of the age? Bronze, Iron (th century BC), ancient Greece, Roman remains and the Arab-Islamic Middle Ages.
We walk along the road that goes up to the top? and immediately we meet the remains of the columns that made up the Temple of Hercules.

Built in honor of Marcus Aurelius in the second century AD on the site of a pre-existing sanctuary dedicated to the divinity? Admonished Melkom.
On the right side:

Here are the remains of a small Byzantine basilica with the classic Corinthian columns dating back to the th or th century AD
Proceeding past the church:

This huge complex (Al-Qaser) dates back to the Umayyad period, about 720 AD. Its function is not? known, but the building includes a monumental entrance, a cruciform audience hall and four vaulted chambers. On the eastern side of the entrance there is a large water tank, probably a cistern from the Roman period to supply the palace.
We return to the main road to the National Archaeological Museum of Jordan.

This museum houses artifacts collected throughout the Jordanian territory and belonging to a wide spectrum of historical periods. Among the pieces hosted by the place, do they enjoy a certain notoriety? the plaster sculptures dating back to the age? of the stone (6500 BC) some of the more? ancient in the world found during the excavations carried out inside the Citadel itself. All very interesting!
After the visit we make a substantial snack and go down on foot towards the? City? low? ie the ancient center of Roman Philadelphia to visit the Roman Theater.

Very similar to that of Gerasa, it was completed between 169 and 177. The cavea opens into the side of the hill using a natural rocky support as was the case for Greek theaters and oriented towards north to protect the public from the sun. It could accommodate about 6000 people who accessed through side corridors with vaulted roofs. Well restored and well maintained it is still used for cultural events and shows.
Nearby we see a small theater, the Odeon.

It was a small 500nd century theater, probably with a wooden roof, which could hold about spectators who gathered for meetings or musical performances.
We walk on the main street Shari al-Amanah full of shops in search of some souvenirs and we only buy the usual flag for our collection as we do not see anything interesting. We hope to find something in another store during the trip! Again in a taxi to our hotel for a short rest, shower and dinner.
Tomorrow Madaba-Mount Nebo-Kerak-Petra

4 day

May 2 - Madaba

About 30 km from the capital of Jordan Amman, along the Road of the Kings, stands the ancient city? of Madaba which with its 70.000 inhabitants represents one of the cities? pi? populous areas of Jordan. Madaba stands on the ancient biblical site of Medba or Medeba, from which it then took its name. It is one of the pearls of Jordan that every year attracts visitors fascinated by its ancient ruins and the beauty of its mosaics, so much so that it is nicknamed the? City? some mosaics ?. And among the many mosaics, in the Greek Orthodox Church of San Giorgio, is the largest mosaic. famous depicting the map of Palestine and made especially for visitors who over the centuries came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Currently only part of the mosaic map yes? preserved. We admire other extraordinary mosaics at the Church of the Virgin and the Apostles.

Continue for about ten km up to Mount Nebo, locally known as Siyagha, the highest point? high in this part of the ancient kingdom of Moab. Can you? enjoy a magnificent panoramic view over the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley to the hills on the other side of the rift, with the towers of Jerusalem visible on the horizon. A stone slab illustrates the Memorial of Mos ?. From here starts an avenue at the end of which? a commemorative monument created by the Italian sculptor Vincenzo Bianchi was placed. The monument, 6 meters high,? called the Book of Love among the Gentiles; in fact, it celebrates a sort of communion between the Jewish Torah, the Muslim Koran and the Christian Gospel. On the base? reported the phrase? God? Love? in Greek, Arabic and Latin.
The hill ? remembered as the place from which Mos? guard? the promised land of Canaan, where God had forbidden him to enter; and is said to be dead and buried here. The educational center? set up as a museum exhibition of archaeological discoveries and their historical and religious significance. On the balcony of the Nebo stands the "bronze snake", a wrought iron monument by the Florentine artist Gian Paolo Fantoni. It recalls another episode in the Bible when God, following complaints about the harshness of the journey in the desert, sends poisonous snakes among the Israelites that claim numerous victims. Do the repentant people then turn to Mos? so that? pray the Lord to drive away the burning snakes. After what Mos? had prayed, God orders him to forge a bronze snake and place it in view of the people: whoever had been bitten by poisonous snakes, could have been saved only by looking towards the snake of Mos? For Christians, the bronze serpent? symbol of Jesus? raised on the cross, a sign of salvation for those who look to him with faith.
A large stone door seems to have been the closure of the ancient basilica.
We walk along the ancient Road of the Kings and stop at Kerak, the crusader fortress with a mighty watchtower inside which a labyrinth of halls and corridors winds.

It was built around 1142 by Pagano the cupbearer, lord of Montreal, and entered the possessions of Rinaldo di Chatillon, lord of the Oltregiordano, in 1176, following his marriage to Stefania di Milly. In recent years, relations between Christians and Muslims improved thanks to the pacification work of Baldwin IV, the leper king, who made a series of truces with Saladin with which he hoped to ensure stability? to the kingdom. The failure of the Muslims to conquer Kerak was an important result for the Christians, who could thus? prolong the survival of their kingdom. After the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, the fortress remained under Christian control for a long time, only to fall into the hands of Muslims in 1263. Its position on the hill east of the Jordan River made it an ideal control point over the whole valley and on the groups of Bedouin shepherds who passed through it. The excellent state of conservation, the immense halls dominated by arches on two levels, the intriguing path in its underground labyrinths used at the time as shelters and combat tunnels, make the site a particular memory.
Traveling to Petra, city? unique in the world carved into the rock, 2? wonder of the world after the Great Wall. Dinner awaits us at the hotel. The 5-star Old Village Resort Hotel, one of the few Arab-style hotels in Jordan, has all the best. modern necessary amenities. The restaurant, which benefits from beautiful mountain views, also offers a wide range of traditional Arabic dishes and has a heated indoor pool with outdoor terrace served by a poolside snack bar.

5 day

May 3 - Petra

Petra (from πέτρα, rock in Greek) city? troglodyte located about 250 km south of Amman, in a basin between the mountains east of the Wadi Araba, the great valley that extends from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Its Semitic name was Reqem or Raqmu (? The Colorful?), Also attested in the Qumran manuscripts.
* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

By non-biblical manuscripts of Qumran we mean all those manuscripts found in Qumran locality? of Jordan, located in the vicinity? of the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, in the Judean desert.
Was it in antiquity? a city? edomita.
* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Edomites could originate from the Shusu and the Shutu, nomadic raiders mentioned in ancient Egyptian sources. In fact, a letter from an Egyptian scribe in a fortified border post in the Wadi Tumilat during the reign of Merenptah refers to movements of "nomadic Shasu tribes of Edom" who intended to collect water in Egyptian territory.
It became the capital of the Nabataeans in the third century BC. Towards the eighth century it was abandoned by the inhabitants following the decline of trade and natural disasters, and forgotten until modern times. The site was revealed to the Western world by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.
The numerous buildings with facades cut directly into the rock make it a unique monument, what? been declared a World Heritage Site? by UNESCO on December 6, 1985. Even the surrounding area? was established since 1993 national archaeological park. Furthermore, in 2007, Petra? was declared the second wonder of the modern world after the Great Wall of China.
Wake up at 4:00 from the call of the muezzin ... we calmly prepare for the visit of the archaeological site of Petra which is a few km away. The guide recommends that we cover our heads, drink a lot and be moderate in our efforts. The temperature will be? tall enough! He tells us that last year a tourist in August, however elderly, stayed there? dry having requested too much from his body ... I say you go to places like this in August where temperatures up to 50 are reached?
After the entrance gate, you follow the dry bed of a Wadi, along which you can see important monuments:

Ornate stone blocks dedicated to the guardian spirits of the city.

The first tombs carved into the rock.
You then enter a gorge (siq) which becomes narrow between very high walls. The road, what more? sometimes it suffered floods as it was a stream bed, it was paved by the Romans and there are still some stretches of paving. The stone was sacred to the Arabs and the Nabataean god Dushara was represented by a smooth stone. The Nabataeans built an aqueduct that crossed the gorge, dug into the rock face to bring water to the city. and this was their weak point when they were besieged by Trajan, who cuts it ?.
Path ? very busy with visitors on foot or in buggies. We also encounter unlikely Nabataean soldiers ... a little like our? Centurions? at the Colosseum in Rome! Interesting are:

The "P? important in the Siq wall? It was sculpted by Sabinos Alexandros, master of religious ceremonies in Dara'a in Syria, and offers protection to those who walk the Siq. It depicts an ovoid representation of the god Dushara of Adra'a (today's Dara'a in Syria). Interesting the sculpture of the dromedary on the right and of the divinity? Atargatis on two lions of which few traces remain.
The path of the gorge ends abruptly with the unexpected and spectacular view of the most beautiful building. known from Petra:

al-KHAZNEH FARUM (the Pharaoh's Treasure)
The largest monument spectacular of Petra, a building entirely carved in the rock. of Hellenistic style due to the Ptolemaic influence.
Emotion ? strong! Even if the square? full of visitors who however do not distract us with their noises, of camels, donkeys, various vendors, we can only be enchanted by so much wonder, estranging ourselves from everything, admiring the admirable construction and sculpture technique used. I remain for a long time as bewitched!
The building ? the best preserved in Petra why? ? surrounded by high rock walls and? well protected from sand and rain. The pink color of the facade? due to the sandstone of which? composed the wall and the name derives from a legend according to which a treasure was hidden there, so the upper part? it was damaged by the Bedouins who tried to steal it even by firing rifle shots!
Is it actually? of a rock tomb built by King Areta III (87-62 BC).
The facade? 40 m high, but the original floor of the square is two meters below the current one, sand and debris have raised the floor level over time. The facade? consisting of a portico with 6 columns not equidistant topped by a tympanum. On the upper floor there is a cylindrical urn with the statue of the goddess Isis, goddess of fertility, with marks of rifle bullets shot by the Bedouins to take possession of the treasure, and a broken eardrum.
Inside c '? an unadorned square room and, behind it, a smaller room. small.
The road continues to the right in the external siq and the gorge widens again and other funerary monuments carved on the rock appear more and more. numerous to create a real necropolis.

Tombs decorated in the Assyrian style.

dug into the rock with 33 hemicycles that could hold up to 8000 spectators.
It was built by the Nabataeans at the beginning of the first millennium, then the Romans rebuilt the semicircular orchestra. After the theater, the valley opens completely, a rock wall to the east there are other monumental tombs.

The first and most? great ? the Tomb of the Urn (Um) with an open terrace supported by two orders of vaults, the façade has two very high semi-columns and inside there is a room measuring 20 x 18 m. An apse carved into the back wall and an inscription in Greek indicate that the environment? was used as a church by the Byzantines; the Romans had used it instead as a court.
We leave the area of ​​the tombs and head west, where the city stands? rebuilt by the Romans. You take the colonnaded street that here? the decumanus on the east-west axis and pass the monumental doors. On the right ran the riverbed with the Roman embankments.

Destroyed by an earthquake

A Nabataean monument known to the Bedouins as the "castle of the Pharaoh's daughter"
Erected by the Nabataeans, for their deities? (the god Dushara was venerated there, who with Atargatis, goddess of fertility, were the two main Nabataean deities) around 30 BC, after the occupation it was adapted to the cult of the Roman emperors and was finally destroyed in the third century. The full name of the temple? Qasr al-Bint al-Pharaun, castle of the Pharaoh's daughter, and was given to him by the Bedouins. Originally the temple was 23 meters high and had marble stairways, impressive columns with capitals with floral decorations. This was the main place of worship in the city? Nabataean.
We have lunch in a characteristic restaurant and then we begin the return. The guide Maher offers us some delicious biscuits with sesame and almonds.
The heat is felt then arrived at the piazzale del Tesoro we decide to make the last stretch in a carriage. Not at all comfortable means of transport that tosses us qu? and the? all the way ... At least we digested!
In the square of the entrance we see a craftsman who directly packages bottles filled with sand and decorated. We buy one. Only 15 JD!
Back to the hotel for dinner and a healthy rest!

6 day

4 May
We are again awakened by the singing of the muezzin at 4:00 in the morning ...
We set off towards Wadi Rum through arid and stony scenery with an almost lunar aspect. A short stop at an old station of the Hegiaz railway which crosses Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The construction work began in 1900, by the Ottoman Empire with funds from Germany, and the inauguration took place on September 1, 1908. Originally the line was supposed to reach Mecca, but was shortened by 400 kilometers to Medina.
The narrow gauge line (1050 mm)? respectable, at least for its length, 1322 km of route, often in the middle of the desert.
Currently the line? largely dismantled and destroyed. Of the majority, relating to the Arabian Peninsula, only a few embankments and some artifacts remain. An old steam locomotive made in Japan from 1859 with passenger carriages and wagons equipped with machine gun mounts, all under a Turkish flag. The train is occasionally used for tourist events.

The pi? extensive and amazing Jordanian desert on a plateau of 450 meters above sea level with its surreal, timeless and uncontaminated landscapes made of sandstone pinnacles that dominate ancient river beds. A maze of rock formations rises in a desert territory up to heights of 1.750 meters, creating a natural challenge for even the most climbers. experts. Also known as "Valley of the Moon", Prince Faisal Bin Husssein and TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) set up their headquarters here during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during World War I, and their exploits are intertwined with the history of this fantastic region. Much of David Lean's epic "Lawrence of Arabia" was shot here, starring Peter O Toole, Alec Guinnes and Omar Sharif. We stay at the Sun City Camp which offers serenity? and a relaxing spiritual experience in the desert and enjoy the simple Bedouin life of the valley with its unmistakable charm and beauty. The camp is located about 60 km from the city. of Aqaba and 313 km from Amman. They advise us not to stay long in the tents due to the enormous heat that reigns there.
Unique environment a nice spacious bathroom with shower without air conditioning ...
Beyond this arrangement that simulates Bedouin tents c ?? the possibility? to stay in plastic housing "bubbles" similar to those in the film "The Martian". Maybe too much for a traveler looking for real emotions, but fantastic for a normal tourist.
We prepare for the excursion in the desert aboard 4X4 off-road vehicles. Before for? a quick lunch on the tented terrace in front of which in the evening we sat for hours to admire Jupiter and the stars that hovered over us ... other than TV !!
An excellent tea is served to us before departure. Small sandstorms can be seen but they are quite far away.
As soon as the 4X4 leaves and we leave the village of Rum behind us, the emotion rises: in front of us a landscape that leaves you speechless opens immediately ... so it is advisable to cover it to avoid its entrance! The sky ? covered, which makes it even more? the appearance of the landscape is dramatic. The desert immediately leaves you speechless. Here the stretches of fine and red sand that filled my eyes in Morocco have given way to a predominantly rocky surface with colors ranging from yellow to red to brown. The earth yes? indulged in creating gorges and rocks from the most? various forms. Imposing the mountain massif of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom from the title of the book by TE Lawrence, the English colonel known as? Lawrence d? Arabia? immortalized by a bas-relief carved in a rock. On the western side of the Anfashieh massif there are engravings dating back to 3000 years ago: they depict, needless to say, human figures, dromedaries and hunting scenes. A large red sand dune rises in front of us: it reminds me a lot of Morocco!
Back to the camp. An excellent tea is served before dinner what? buffet with a show of meat cooked in the sand. Eating? delicious and abundant. But the highlight? was the performance of the Bedouin dance improvised by the friendly staff, which was joined by many tourists. A few innocent drops of rain but the members sitting at my table didn't move! Well done all of us!
We return to our tent along an illuminated path. Tomorrow to Aqaba then to the Dead Sea.

7 day

5 May
We leave the desert to head to Aqaba.
Aqaba? located in southern Jordan, on the coast of the Red Sea, Jordan's only outlet to the sea. The commercial port extends south of the city. and, in the second half? of the last century, yes? very developed, so today Aqaba,? now the second city? of Jordan by status, income and tourism potential.
IS? adjacent to the Israeli port of Eilat, to which it has begun to compete, as a location? tourist.
In truth? this stage serves only to take a look at the Red Sea.

Along the Way of Peace, open to civilian traffic after the signing of the agreements between Israel and Jordan, we arrive at the so-called statue of Lot which, recognized as "right", could? to escape freely from the city? of Sodom before God set it on fire as punishment. As he walked away with his family, Lot's wife disobeyed? ordered not to look back and was transformed into a statue of salt. This rock formation on the Jordanian coast of the Dead Sea? known as the "Statue of Lot".
Lying 400 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea? the point pi? low of the earth. The Dead Sea? a magical place, the most water basin? salty of the earth where? It is possible to experience the incredible sensation of floating on the water without swimming! The basin, despite its name is not? a sea, but? a lake whose very high salinity? water does not allow any form of life to develop. The only form of benefit and life generated by this amazing lake? that date of the mineral substances of which? very rich who have precious properties? curative, so much so that the Dead Sea? an exceptional spa. This gigantic basin, 75 kilometers long and 15 wide, a thousand centuries old,? the place in the world where? possible to find a very high combination of thermal benefits. To guarantee the results, one data above all: the water here has 27% content in salts and minerals, with a particular concentration of calcium, which cleanses the skin of impurities, magnesium with an antiallergic effect, bromine (relaxing effect), bitumen (anti-inflammatory). Bitumen, calcium and magnesium also abound in black mud, which in addition? it is made up of silicates with a beneficial astringent power. With this concentrate of beneficial substances, many skin diseases are cured including psoriasis, vitiligo, acne, mycosis and scleroderma. The respiratory tract also benefits from humidity. practically non-existent all year round, with very high atmospheric pressure and very pure, oxygen-rich air.
We enter an extraordinary establishment where we change for the invigorating bath. The sensation ? truly unique! I could easily read a newspaper doing the so-called? Dead? in water!
Obviously we do not give up the mud smear! Who knows? that our skin does not benefit immediately ...
After this extraordinary experience we return to Amman.
Departure from the hotel? scheduled for 9:00 tomorrow and before dinner we prepare the luggage.

8 day

6 May
At 12:00 we leave by plane for Rome-Fiumicino where the connection to Naples-Capodichino awaits us.

From the myth of Petra to the fascinating desert of Wadi Rum, from the splendid ruins of Jerash to the castle of the crusades of Karak, a journey to Jordan among the wonders of the Middle East, between sacred and profane, to discover biblical sites such as Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea. Surreal deserts, spectacular canyons, historical communication routes that have seen the passage of the Nabataeans, of Mos?, Of the Crusaders, Jordan surprised us for the variety? of landscapes, for its history.

Audio Video JORDAN, Arab heart and English brain
add a comment of JORDAN, Arab heart and English brain
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.