Friday, 4 February 2011

The "Jordanian approaches" circuit - Day 2 (Cont.)

The "Jordanian approaches" circuit - Day 2 (Cont.)

Casr Al-Azraq
The 23rd of January 2011

Although Casr Al- Azraq may have been built by the Romans at the end of the 3rd century, having then passed onto the hands of the Ummayads, it is said to have been completely rebuilt between 1236 and 1237 under the Ayyubid dinasty.

What seems to have made it become famous was the fact that  the legendary Lawrence of Arabia sojourned here in the Winter of 1917, charged by the English secret services to incite the Arabs to rebell against the Ottoman empire and according to historical records it was from this fortress that he organized the battle of Aqaba.

Not so impressive from the outside, the  massive basalt slab front door was worth noting, so were the ceilings and a small collection of plaques with inscriptions in Latin and Greek or bas-reliefs of plant and animal motives to be seen in the entrance vestibule serving as a small museum.  The little three aisle mosque  in the middle of the courtyard was  also interesting, particularly once we understood why it stood in such an oblique position so the orientation towards Mecca of the back could be respected.

View of the outside (Left) and inside (Right).

The entrance (Left). Detail of the slab front door and the Ayyubid inscription above the main entrance (Right).

View of the inside of one of the rooms (Left). Detail of the ceiling (Right).

Bas-reliefs with animal and human figures.

We made it back to the capital city fairly early, and although  most of the people in the group decided to "explore" Amman, Christian and I stayed at the hotel, which gave me a chance to check on the souvenirs in display in the hotel boutique, where I ended up buying an amazingly beautiful cross stich embroidered Bedouin kaftan and a rag doll in a traditional outfit.

Image of a house in Amman with an "Eiffel Tower" standing on it (picture taken from inside the bus on the way back to the Hotel) 

The evening could have been  particularly "special", once  a wedding ceremony dinner was being held at the hotel, but we just managed to overhear the traditional music being played in  the lobby as the newly wedded couple walked in.

We shall be heading towards Petra tomorrow with quite a few stops on the way, covering a total distance of 310 kilometres. Iconic as Petra is, we are all dying to visit it, but having read what Madaba, Mount Nebo and Kerak hold, I feel I can wait ... 

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