After 1 hour the plane landed in Amman. The customs formalities were completed quickly. My bicycle had suffered almost a harm. Just 2 puncters in the front wheel and some scratches on paint. Right at sunrise I left the airport and cycled on the highway to Amman. After some few kilometers a police car stopped me. The officer got out of his car and greeted me in Jordan. This nice gesture I experienced almost daily. Ahlan wa sahlan- cordially welcome, maintaining the people to say. I liked Jordan from the first moment.
My Mother wanted to visit me here in Jordan for the first time after 6 months. I still had 8 days left to explore the city. Amman is a incredible city. The history of Amman dates back to 7250 BC, which makes it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It was initially built on seven hills but now spans over 19 hills combining 27 districts.
Jordan gained its independence in 1946 and Amman was designated the country’s capital. Amman received many refugees during wartime events in nearby countries, beginning with the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. A second wave arrived after the Six-Day War in 1967 and a third wave of Palestinian and Jordanian refugees arrived in Amman from Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War. The first wave of Iraqi refugees settled in the city after the 1991 Gulf War, with a second wave occurring in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the last ten years the city has experienced an economic, cultural and urban boom.
After this forays I could finally pick up my mother at the airport. We wanted to discover so many places as possible all over the country. Many people asked me if my company is my sister or girlfriend. They were always surprised when I introduced her as my mother. I got up to 100 camels as Buyer for her. One camel costs about 1’000.- $. With the money I could very long time traveling the world!
First we went to Madaba. It is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of the Holy Land.
From Madaba we travelled by Taxi along the Kings Highway via the Kerak Castle to Petra. The castle is one of the three largest castles in the region, the other two being in Syria. In 1132 King Fulk of Jerusalem, made Pagan the Butler Lord of Montreal and Oultrejourdain. Pagan made his headquarters at al-Karak where he built a castle on a hill called by the crusaders Petra Deserti – The Stone of the Desert. The castle was only in Crusader hands for 46 years. Its significance lay in its control over the caravan route between Damascus and Egypt and the pilgrimage route between Damascus and Mecca.
The Highlight of our journey followed the next 4 days in Petra. It’s difficult to describe all the impressions during a visit from this impressive city. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved. Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans. The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. UNESCO has described it as „one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage“. Petra was named amongst the New7Wonders of the World in 2007. In 363 an earthquake destroyed many buildings, and crippled the vital water management system. The last inhabitants abandoned the city (further weakened by another major earthquake in 551) when the Arabs conquered the region in 663.
After two days of walking through the city we decided to take a look at Little Petra. Like Petra, it was probably built during the height of Nabataean influence during the 1st century C.E. While the purpose of some of the buildings is not clear, archaeologists believe that the whole complex was a suburb of Petra, the Nabatean capital, meant to house visiting traders on the Silk Road. After the decline of the Nabataeans, it fell vacant, used only by Bedouin nomads, for centuries. In 2010, a biclinium, or dining room, in one of the caves was discovered to have surviving interior art depicting grapes, vines and putti in great detail with a varied palette, probably in homage to the Greek god Dionysus and the consumption of wine.
From Petra we went to Aqaba. The city is based at the Red Sea. Unfortunately, the place for us was not interesting. Back in Amman we experienced a huge flood. Within a few minutes flooded a thundershower all streets. Four people died and there was property damage in the millions. We decided to spent the last few days in Madaba again. From there we visited also Jerash and the Desert Castles.
Jerash is the site of the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa. In the second half of the 1st century AD, the city of Jerash achieved great prosperity. In AD 106, the Emperor Trajan constructed roads throughout the province, and more trade came to Jerash. The Emperor Hadrian visited Jerash in AD 129-130. In AD 749, a major earthquake destroyed much of Jerash and its surroundings.
After these eighteen eventful days it was time to adopt my mother. This wasn’t easy for me. Two days later I got a invitation to climb in Ajlun from Tropical Desert. It was great to move some other muscles but the soreness the next day was like hell! Slowly I ventured back on my bike. The Desert Highway seemed to be the best solution for me. The side stripe was ideal for cycling and the hospitality on the way did not want to quit. Every night I received an invitation. Even the police hosted me for all rules of hospitality.
Jordan has simply just overwhelms me. Especially the people here make this country so hospitable. With all my heart I would like to thank all which have during my stay here opened their doors for me. Jordan is a pearl in the middle east. Shukraan jazilaan!