Holiday: Jordan – Day 9 (24th April)

Reading time: 7 minutes...

We’re coming to the end of our first-time visit to Jordan with great mates, Ralph & Karen. 😍😍

Welcome to Day 9, our last full day here and my final Post for this holiday.

Another day, another guided tour! 😁. This time we’re heading for the ancient town of Jerash, population 237000!

Jerash: Another hot one!

The Plan…

Read All About It…

Day 8 – Cultural Day – Madaba/Mount Nebo
Day 7 – Cultural Day – Amman
Day 6 – Day of the Dead (Sea!)
Day 5 – Dana Biosphere Day
Day 4 – Petra Day (Part 2)
Day 3 – Petra Day (Part 1)
Day 2 – Castle Day
Day 1 – Lazy Day
Day 0 – Travel Day


All aboard (for the last time)! πŸ₯Ή

9.30am: We left slightly later this morning as we needed some time to check-in online (by 8.15am) and attempt to bag some ‘good’ seats for the plane tomorrow. Eddie, our Guide, and Tha’er, our Driver, had already arrived and were parked outside the Hotel. We jumped aboard (for the last time! πŸ₯Ή). It was a jam-free drive from Amman to Jerash and only took about 40 minutes.

Today’s Visit – Jerash/Gerasa

Jerash is north of the capital Amman. The ancient city, has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, it’s known for the ruins of the walled Greco-Roman settlement of Gerasa just outside the modern city – and that’s our destination for today – known as ‘The Pompeii of the East’. Around 30000 people lived here, where the Kings Highway and the Silk Road intersected. For those who believe, this is where Jesus performed a miracle by exorcising a man and his demons.

Demons aside, there is plenty else to see here, including the 2nd-century Hadrian’s Arch, the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis and the huge Forum’s oval colonnade. I think we hadn’t appreciated how large this archaeological site was. Having handed over the very reasonable entrance fee of 10JD each (quite expensive for out here – Β£8!) we were to spend a good three hours there, soaking up the scenery. In short, we all agreed it was probably the most complete ruin we’ve ever been to in our travels. More information about it all at Wiki HERE.

It’s a large site – put aside a couple of hours

We’re going in… 😎

An under-stated entrance

10.14am: On the hottest day since we arrived, we had a hassle-free journey there and were soon heading for the official entrance. Did I mention how hot it was? πŸ₯΅πŸ₯΅. Before we got to the ruins, we had to walk through a covered market area. The stallholders were at the top of their selling game hoping to persuade travellers like us that it was essential that we buy water/a hat/a scarf… a painting or even a jigsaw. A painting or a jigsaw!!!!! πŸ€”


Onwards to the serious stuff…

The Arch of Hadrian

10.20am: With hats and suntan cream in all the right places (but no jigsaws!), this was our first stop. Built to celebrate – yes, you guessed it – Hadrian, in 129/130AD, it stands 21 metres high, having been restored in 2005. More information HERE.


The Hippodrome

10.28am: Probably constructed between 1 and 3AD, this is considered to be large space with capacity for a mighty 15000 spectators. Imagine scenes like the one in Ben Hur with chariots racing around the circuit, hoping to secure victory. More information HERE.

South Gate

10.40am: The South Gate (there are three others – bet you can’t guess their names. As usual, answers to the usual address! πŸ‘) was completed in 130AD and in recent times has been restored well. More information HERE.


Temple of Zeus

10.50am: This was an impressive construction! The size of the columns made us wonder how ‘back in the day’ they even managed to move them into position? Built in 2AD, this impressive piece of architecture, like much of the site as a whole, much has been damaged through erosion and earthquakes (and looting!). Even so, it’s easy to imagine how this would have looked to the Romans. From 2001 to 2006, a reconstruction project was carried out in the Temple following a spontaneous donation by the World Monuments Fund. More reading HERE.


The South Theatre

11.10am: Another impressive piece of architecture with the added bonus of a Band! Featuring bagpipes, helped along with a drum, it was a surreal sound coming from a location not usually associated with the instrument. This is the largest and oldest of the Theatres here built in 90-92AD. With a seating capacity of 6000. The acoustics were amazing and Eddie got us to stand on the echo spot, which, when we spoke a few words, were amplified around this impressive space. More information HERE.


Temple of Artemis

11.43am: Dedicated to Artemis, the goddess of hunting and fertility and the daughter of Zeus, this temple was built between AD 150 and 170. Another great example of Roman architecture sporting impressive columns. More HERE.


The North Theatre

11.53am: The North Theatre is smaller than its cousin, the South Theatre (mentioned earlier) – this has a seating capacity of 1500. It was just as impressive and had benefited from more extensive renovation. It was constructed in 165AD and originally only had 14 rows of seats. In 235AD, the Theatre was doubled in size to its current capacity. The theatre fell into disuse in the 5th century and many of its stones were taken for use in other buildings. More information HERE.


The North Gate

12.09pm: As the name suggests, this mighty gate is located on the north side of the ancient City and is considered to be the main entrance. It’s the oldest part of the 800m long north-south axis of Gerasa (old Jerash) and was constructed in 115AD. More information HERE.


The Nymphaeum

12.20pm: Nymphaeum?? Stop tittering at the back! 😁. As every schoolboy knows, a ‘nymphaeum’ was a monument consecrated to the nymphs. the attraction here for nymphs is the water and the water system. Around 125 AD, the water supply system was built, and at the end of the 2nd century, in view of the growing needs of the public baths, the capacity of the main aqueduct was increased. More information HERE.


The Cathedral

12.20pm: The Cathedral was built on the ruin of the Roman temple to Dionysus – God of wine-making – (on top site of a previous temple to Dushara – the pre-Islamic, Arabian God). It is recorded that there were as many as SIX Christian Churches also in the City. The Cathedral is the oldest church in the city, built in the first half of the 5th century on the platform of a temple from the 1st/2nd century AD, although there is precious little evidence it was actually a full-blown Cathedral. More to read HERE.


The Main Cardo

12.23pm: Running north to south, this was the ‘main road’. Underneath the road was a complex water distribution system. It was built towards the end of 1AD when the city became Roman. The road had to accommodate chariots and the familiar ‘diagonal’ layout of the stone that made up the road ensured that wheels didn’t get stuck in the gaps between the stones! πŸ‘. More reading HERE.

Phew! We’ve come full circle. Seeing what we saw took us around two hours! πŸ‘


12.45pm: Well, that was an experience – and some! We all came away impressed with everything we’d seen. There is clearly much more still ‘below ground’, archaeologically speaking, and it’s a real pity that no-one seems interested in financing a thorough excavation of the site. Based on what we saw above ground, surely even greater things are still to be uncovered. By the time we’d completed our exploration of the site, it must have been over 30 degrees outside.

We took a short break back at the Visitor’s Centre, where the soft drinks went down a treat – and as much as we all enjoyed the experience, it was good to get out of the intense heat! πŸ₯΅πŸ₯΅πŸ₯΅πŸ₯΅

These photos didn’t really fit anywhere else, but will give you a sense of the size of the site…


1.12pm: We headed back to the car-park where Tha’er was waiting with the AC set to max! By 2.15, we were back at the Hotel saying a very emotional farewell to Eddie and thanking him for all his hard work in looking after us during the past eight days. We’ve booked Tha’er to take us to the Airport tomorrow morning, so that’s one thing less to organise, and when we’ll say our goodbyes to him then. Next job? To begin the packing (whilst Ralph sourced a suitable Restaurant for tonight).

Our Final Meal in Jordan

7.00pm: Nice one Ralph! πŸ‘πŸ‘. Location-wise the restaurant was perfect! Right next door to our Hotel! πŸ‘. It served Lebanese food and turned out to be probably the best meal of the holiday! Having said that, we weren’t too keen on two of the options – Sheep’s Brain and Lamb Testicles🫒

8.30pm: That was yummy! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Jordan – Our First Experience

Time to pull everything together! πŸ€”.
People: Everybody we’ve met here has been friendly, helpful and very hospitable. Everyone seems so happy, which came as a slight surprise, given where they are geopolitically. They are a very liberal nation in terms of personal freedom and there’s a tremendous feel of patriotism where they adore their Royal Family.
Motorists: Road manners are simply scary! Roundabouts are treated as a free-for-all and the whole of the road is considered a possible parking place! Plenty of EVs – especially Teslas and VWs.
Cuisine: Eating out is great value and there are plenty of different types of cuisine available – they do like their Hummus though!
Internet: Super speedy.
Weather: Hot, but not too hot!
Getting around: Plenty of taxis, but we never saw a bus. We didn’t see a train nor a railway station either. Most signage is dual language.

Here are some random about the country…

  • Five million people live in the capital, Amman with 11 million in the country as a whole
  • The currency is the Jordanian Dinar (1JD = 85p)
  • Their first language is Arabic, whilst their second is English
  • Drivers (and driving in general) are unpredictable. Indicating is highly optional and spontaneous lane-changing is almost a spectator sport
  • Speed bumps are everywhere – especially on the faster roads (70kph). There are often NO signs to pre-warn the unsuspecting visitor
  • Drivers park anywhere – including the middle of the road
  • Jordan is a very liberal nation for women’s rights
  • There are plenty of Police
  • There is a special division called the ‘Tourist Police’
  • Public servants get a lot of perks, including interest-free house and land purchases
  • Politicians retain all their perks …for life!
  • Eating out is cheap (for us Brits, anyway)
  • The majority of the population are Sunni Muslims
  • Practising Muslims vs Non-Practising Muslims is around 50/50. By definition, ‘non-practising’ means they only go to the Mosque ONCE a week (on a Friday)
  • They DO have snow here, occasionally!
  • The coldest temperature recorded has been minus 18
  • The hottest temperature here has been in the 50s
  • Goats, goats and more goats! And camels!!
  • ‘Umm Ali’ is a very popular dessert (Bread & Butter Pud on steroids!)
  • They export tomatoes and Olive Oil to… Italy!
  • They colour some of their vegetables – with beetroot juice!
  • Haggling when purchasing any consumer goods is expected
  • Until 1989, public execution was commonplace for serious crimes (Murder, rape and drugs). Nowadays it’s all done in private where hanging has given way to electrocution
  • There is no social security system. No work, no money!
  • The Royal Family is extremely popular
  • The King makes the final decision on laws (based on his Government’s advice)
  • Currently, tourism is DOWN 90%!!!

Just the Photo Reel and
none of my chat
is HERE


Tomorrow, we’re up a silly o’clock for the early morning 5hr 45m flight back to the UK. Thanks again for all your comments – and especially your readership – it makes it all worthwhile! Looking at the ‘viewer numbers’ I can see that my ramblings attracted just shy of 400 reads – and that’ll almost certainly increase over the next few days. πŸ‘πŸ˜

9.03pm: 9.03pm!! Party Animals, ehh??? Nighty night!!! πŸ’€πŸ˜΄πŸ’€πŸ˜΄

Keep Reading

Previous

1 thought on “Holiday: Jordan – Day 9 (24th April)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *