Heading North, the Adventure Begins

First stop, Umm Quais, in the far north of the country, to visit the Roman ruins of Gadara, part of the Decapolis. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umm_Qais)

The Cardo was the main street of a Roman city.

The Cardo was the main street of a Roman city.

We hired a guide and from him learned a lot about the theatre (and how to find the perfect spot for a voice to carry) and a group of rectangular ruins along the Roman road, which were clearly shops. Much of the city is constructed of black volcanic stone.

Kids at Play

A row of shops in Gadara.

A row of shops in Gadara.

We also learned that blocks were placed diagonally on the roads so that the chariots were quieter but pedestrian crossings had squared blocks placed for ease of crossing.

Chariot and Cart Wheel Marks

There is a complete Roman town to be discovered here with temples, baths and other buildings common to Roman life. In fact, excavations were being undertaken at the far end of the Roman road on two storey shops and homes.

You can see how much is left to excavate.

You can see how much is left to excavate.

Years ago, in Arequipa, Peru, we thought that it was wonderful when Peruvians and not just foreign tourists visited historic and other sites. Again in Um Qais we were delighted to see how many Jordanians were touring the site.

Roman building elements reused for a church.

Roman building elements reused for a church.

And, as always, Denise quickly attracted an entourage.

Chix

From the lookout point at Umm Quais, the view was stupendous. We saw Mount Hermon, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights (now Israel), and Syria, in the distance. We even heard the distant sound of artillery fire or bombing, which brought home to us the reality of the conflicts in that part of the Middle East. We enjoyed a lovely lunch at the Rest House, gazing over the Sea of Galilee and down into Israel at the foot of the valley.

Lunch

We then headed south to Ajloun Castle, a former Ayyubid Castle, set on a hill with more great views. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajloun_Castle)

Castle on the Hilltop

 

It was never taken by the Crusaders and the full range of fortifications, from moat to murder gaps (not just holes), trebuchet balls, and extra towers can be clearly seen.

 

The castle was later damaged by the Mongols and restored.

Stairs

Again, we toured with and around busloads of schoolgirls and, as always, Denise made their day! (And they made ours.)

And, after a hard day to touring, a cup of coffee.

The Starbucks at Ajloun

 

 

One thought on “Heading North, the Adventure Begins

  1. Pingback: Kerak Castle | Ndeke Luka

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s