Sunday, March 6, 2016

Moses Slept Here


Got to breakfast around 7ish. Not a lot of tourists here. There seem to be several business people from all over especially the Gulf area. Omar and our new driver, yup, Mohammed, were waiting for us in the lobby.

A short drive and we were at the Citadel.
The Amman Citadel is a historical site at the center of downtown AmmanJordan. Known in Arabic as Jabal al-Qal'a, the L-shaped hill is one of the seven jabals that originally made up Amman.. It was inhabited by different peoples and cultures until the time of the Umayyads, after which came a period of decline and for much of the time until 1878 the former city became an abandoned pile of ruins only sporadically used by Bedouin and seasonal farmers. Despite this gap, the Citadel of Amman is considered to be among the world's oldest continuously inhabited places.

The Citadel is considered an important site because it has had a long history of occupation by many great civilizations. Most of the buildings still visible at the site are from the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad periods. The major buildings at the site are the Temple of Hercules, a Byzantine church, and the Umayyad Palace.
Though the fortification walls enclose the heart of the site, the ancient periods of occupation covered large areas. Historic structures, tombs, arches, walls and stairs have no modern borders, and therefore there is considerable archaeological potential at this site, as well as in surrounding lands, and throughout Amman.
As we looked out over the view, Omar pointed out the giant flagpole (same one we see from our room), This, too, has a story:
The Raghadan Flagpole is a 416 ft tall flagpoleIt was built from steel and erected on the grounds of Raghadan Palace at the royal compound of Al-Maquar. The leader of Jordan, King Abdullah II, officially hoisted the country's flag on 10 June 2003. It was the tallest free-standing flagpole in the world at the time, and is clearly visible across the capital as well as from as far away as 12 mi. It is illuminated, making it visible at night, and was also developed to withstand earthquakes and bad weather, And was in the Guiness Book of Records. The tallest flagpole now is the 560 ft Jeddah Flagpole, constructed in 2014. 
From .here we went down to the Roman theater. An Amman landmark dating back to the Roman period when the city was known as Philadelphia. It is still used today for festivals and events. The side rooms now contain museums.

Took a stroll around downtown and through the markets. Omar treated us to some kanafeh. A popular dessert made up of cheese, honey, and pistachios. This small place apparently made the best in city - even the King goes here! We caught up with our driver. By the way, our current Mohammed went to school in Flushing, NY!! Where I grew up. What are the odds of that? We are having a good time talking with these two guys and learning about their country. Life is hard and expensive in Jordan, Amman in particular. And it doesn't look like things are going to get any better soon.

We continued on to the Royal Automobile Museum. Great place to see what rich people do with all their money.
Located next to the Al Hussein Public Parks, the museum was established in 2003 upon King Abdullah's wishes. The museum showcases a rare collection of Jordan's vehicles ranging from Hussein bin Ali's cars that came to Amman in 1916 to modern sports cars.
Somewhere in Amman there is the rover from the movie, The Martian, which was donated as a gift. Part of the movie was filmed in Jordan at Wadi Rum. We never saw the rover, but we will be in Wadi Rum in a few days.

A very nice lunch stop at Mt. Nebo with some beautiful views of Amman. Got a quick mosaic demonstration and a sales pitch before we could eat. After lunch, we went to see the Promised Land. The skies were blue but there was smog and haze on the horizon. Still it was sure something to see:

Mount Nebo is an elevated ridge in Jordan, approximately 2,680 ft above sea levelmentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, to the north, a more limited one of the valley of the River Jordan. The West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a very clear day.

One more church to go - the Byzantine Church of St. George, to visit the mosaic floor map:
The Madaba Map (also known as the Madaba Mosaic Map) is part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George at MadabaJordan. The Madaba Map is a map of the Middle East. Part of it contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem. It dates to the 6th century AD.
That concluded our tour for today. It was a slow ride back in traffic, but after Cairo, who complains about traffic anymore! Another dinner at the hotel.  Tomorrow we are off to Petra with a stop or two along the way. Time to pack, again,

Next time... The Road to Petra


1 comment:

  1. Quite a slideshow you did on Amman. A certain symmetry of white stone buildings with the mix of historical ruins centering on the Roman Theater gives the city character. My favorite is Temple of Hercules (and his fingers). Kanafeh seems very intriguing. I Googled it and there are many recipes.

    Can't wait for Petra!