The 22nd of January 2011
Although the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan covers an area which is slightly bigger than Portugal and 85% of it is desert, this circuit will allow us to "discover" further beyond Jordan's prime attraction - the city of Petra, as we shall be travelling North of Amman and then head towards the Southern part of the country as far as Aqaba.
We reached Amman international airport fairly early in the morning, where we were welcomed by the local agency representative who guided us through custom formalities. A Jordanian guide, Omar (who happens to be a University professor of History) shall accompany us from day one through to the last day.
For obvious reasons our morning circuit didn't start too early ... but the sight of Jerash, a former Roman city just 50 Kilometres North of the capital city made us soon forget the remaining tiredness.
The small settlement of Gerasa (the ancient name for Jerash) was founded around 170 BC, but it was not until 129 that it became the centre of the Roman empire, as Trajan's sucessor, Hadrian wintered in the city.
The 800 metre long collonnaded Cardo Maximus, the main boulevard of Jerash (Left). Hadrian's Arch (Right).
The Nymphaeum, a monumental fountain dating to the late 2nd Century AD (Below Left). Corynthian columns on the eastern side of the Temple of Artemis (Below Right).
The South Theatre built during the reign of Domitian (81-96) to be seen on the Left. The Forum in the foreground of the 56 Ionic column Oval Piazza (Right).
It is really difficult to say what impressed me most, because these six photos out of about thirty taken around this huge site could easily be substituted by any of the others. Having read about it before travelling in no way prepared me for what I saw this morning ... and the day is still half way.
I must say I am really looking forward to this afternoon and what else it may unveil.