I finally had arrived in Jordan and things seemed to be going well – until the airport lost my luggage. Luckily, with the support of our amazing program director, and a little luck, my luggage was located and I could comfortably experience my first days in Jordan.
These first few days consisted mostly of city and ancient ruin and historical visits, as well as orientation. Skipping the boring parts, I absolutely cannot say enough about how beautiful, clean, and amazing Jordan is. The weather has been very comfortable, and the sites to see are absolutely breath taking. Because it is Ramadan, the best time to be out is at night, when there is music, laughter, shopping, and food along the streets. I was awh-struck when the time of fasting broke, and I found myself right next to a mosque, listening to the call to prayer trickle from the mosque’s speakers. Locals handed out free tamr (date) drinks to myself and others surrounding, and I peacefully observed how locals broke their fast and experienced the city slowly come to life as the sun set and the stars began to gleam.
These few days I got to go to a couple really nice places to eat, one in particular I would like to mention is called “Books at Cafe” Downstairs is a book store/library, and up stares is a beautiful restaurant/ hookah lounge. What really got me about this place, is that it is known as a place of openness, and safety to all. Jordanian, tourist, gay, straight – it doesn’t matter all are welcome. In fact, the owners themselves are known to be …well “different”. Seeing a place like this right in the heart of the Middle East really left me silent and speechless.
Moving on to some of the amazing historical sites I got to see, between Amman’s Citadel, Jerash, and the amazing ajloun castle.
Amman’s ancient Citadel, is located on the highest hill top in Amman, known as Jebel alqala. This ancient site was occupied during the Bronze Period(3200 BC), and has been rebuilt multiple times during the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad (also know as More) periods. A little bit that was interesting about this site for me is that my ancestors were actually thought to be the Umayyads. The Umayyads, also known as the More’s (My last name being Moreau, deriving from More) were nomads of North Africa who ruled and traveled thorughout the Middle East, before much later migrating and colonizing in France and eventually (most recently) French Canada. . Seeing what could have been a creation of my ancestors was absolutely amazing!! The pillars you see in the picture below are known as the Roman Temple of Hercules, and yes that is Hercules’s hand. This area is also known as an area that the prophet Jesus and Islam’s prophet Muhammad passed through once long ago.
Moving on, I eventually saw the ancient city of Jerash and the awesome aljoun castle. Jerash was a full blown ancient Roman city. From washrooms, residential areas, roads, walls, shopping areas, the arena/theater and fountains this city was founded 2000+ BC (exact date unknown). After earthquakes, and wars around 720 AD, this city was buried under the gravel before it was discovered in the early 1800’s. Enjoy the breathtaking photo’s I took on my snazzy canon camera. Excuse any horrible angles, editing, or lighting. I am not a camera genius but I thought I’d play around and try to capture this areas outstanding beauty. I cannot explain the feeling I had when being here. My mind kept coloring the ruins, and I imagined flashes of what the city once looked like, bustling, the smell of food, the sound of children playing among the streets. It took a couple hours to walk around the entire city.
Finally, Aljouin castle, owned by many rulers, and mentioned by the legendary traveler ibn batutta, was an outstanding sight to see. This area was also once crossed by many of our world’s many holy prophets.