Jordan? everything you don't expect,? a place where you are constantly surprised. ? a lonely night in the desert, a cozy home,? Jerash, the Wadi Rum and? the charm of entering Petra.
Flight: Rome - Amman. We land in Jordan late in the evening now, rest and prepare for the start of this journey. The next day we leave Amman and leave for the recently renovated AJLOUN CASTLE to admire an exceptional example of Arab-Islamic military architecture. From here Saladin in 1189 undertook the campaign against the Crusaders for the reconquest of the Holy Land and stopped on this high ground built? this stronghold. Needless to say, this fortress? a very fascinating place, I prefer to tell you how an Arab woman with a full veil was photographed with a grace that not even? we Westerners? we would have had.
After lunch we head to one of the most? beautiful of this country. Amazement, enchantment and wonder: Jerash. One of the examples of civilization? best preserved Roman in the world, originally among the ten major cities? Roman in the East,? it was nicknamed the Pompeii of the East. Jerash? the Arch of Hadrian, the theaters, the hippodrome, the Byzantine churches with mosaics, the temples of Zeus and Artemis, the Nymphaeum and the Forum. Jerash? its colonnades, its fountains, its spas. Jerash? its shadows, the goats that graze the grass at sunset. Jerash? the city? ancient that merges with the construction sites of the modern one.
Our second day begins with the Greek Orthodox Church of St George in Madaba which holds an unrivaled Christian treasure. On the ruins of a Byzantine church in 1884 the new builders found a mosaic different from the others: it was the most? ancient map of Palestine.
Do we continue to Mount Nebo, the place where Mos is said to be buried? and that the Franciscans have always protected. Just renovated and inaugurated, the Memorial of Mos? it offers panoramic views of the Promised Land, perfectly preserved mosaics dating back to 530 BC and a bronze monument that symbolizes all the suffering of Christ. Here you can really breathe a sacred air, I don't know if for the small church on top of nowhere, for the view of Jerusalem or for the olive trees on the hill, but the feeling you have? that of intimacy? and purity.
We get back in the car and head to the nearby village of KHIRBET AL-MUKHAYYAT where many ancient Roman churches were found, the main one of which? the church of San Lot and San Procopio, a site also mentioned in the Bible and in the Mesha stele. IS? suggestive to visit this place especially why? aren't we in a mausoleum, a church or a museum? we are in a private house. An elderly man opens what was once his house and then waits for us at the door. Admiring the mosaics and exiting, he greets us and goes back to rest. Also this ? Jordan.
After the mosaics of Mount Nebo and the church of Saints Lot and Procopius we are headed towards those of Santo Stefano. This church too? adorned with a splendid mosaic floor with the major cities? in the region: Jerusalem, Nablus, Gaza, Amman. Here we do not find tourists apart from us and the site seems ap? in abandonment, but in reality? since 2004 Umm al-Rasās? been included in the list of Humanity Heritage? of UNESCO, and believe me this title deserves it all. The excavations are not completely completed and the new receptive structure gives hope that this place will have? more lifeblood from now on.
We are finally in PETRA. Heritage of humanity since 1985 and one of the seven wonders of the modern world (second only to the Great Wall), Petra? indescribable. A majestic city? of the dead where all the buildings you see are tombs. It was revealed again to the world in 1812 by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt who had heard that near the village of Wadi Musa there were some extraordinary remains in a sort of natural fortress. Until then, only a few Bedouins lived there and visitors were banned. Burckhardt had to present himself dressed as an Arab pilgrim, claiming that he wanted to sacrifice a lamb to the prophet Aaron, whose tomb was believed to be located beyond. ruins and only with this expedient was he allowed to enter.
After so much walking the canyon narrows and suddenly the Treasure, El Khasneh, opens before us. ? shocking to get here. Stendhal's Syndrome? Raise it to the umpteenth power. El Khasneh? the gigantic funerary monument carved into the rock for which we all know Petra and once here many will think they have already had it. the best part, instead this? just a taste. The royal tombs and the monastery are even more? suggestive, but we do not reveal anything else.
Our fourth day in Jordan begins with Little Petra, an archaeological site about 14km from Petra. This city? it was founded by the Nabataeans to house the caravans from Arabia and the East. How Petra was this site also? Rediscovered? by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who for? did not dedicate him? particular attention. He considered? Little Petra was part of Petra itself and was it so? identified up to the half? of the last century.
Now c '? the desert, the red sand. There? a 4? 4 jeep that takes you between the expanses of Wadi Rum, there are hieroglyphs engraved in the rock, the dunes to climb and the overhangs to feel really high. In the end, as in a dream, c ?? also a mint tea. As if it weren't already? it was quite nice, from here we go to the tented camp for the night. I stayed in the Wadi Rum Luxury Camp, which I highly recommend for a unique experience.
After the night passed under the pi? beautiful starry sky of my life, we move to Bethany. Here St. John the Baptist baptized? Jesus. Has the Catholic Church recognized without doubt that? this is one of the most? sacred of history. Open to visitors for a few years,? been protected inside a sort of archaeological park. A no frills place, very intimate and where you really feel at peace with yourself. The enchantment ends when on the Israeli side of the Jordan a massive group of tourists start taking pictures and literally take a bath.
Last day dedicated to relaxation on the Dead Sea, where we breathe a completely different air: large resorts, swimming pools and shopping centers. Saying Dead Sea means THE MUD OF THE DEAD SEA! Oh yes, they are miraculous, it is useless to deny it! Get it, smear me, wait? and zaaac? once dry the mud washes and you feel as smooth as a child. No scrub, cream or oil has ever had such an effect.