During the last leg of our trip, we visited the castle of Ajlun as well as the ruins in Umm Qays and Jerash. The latter was the perfect way to end our visit to Jordan!
We left Amman early in the morning and headed to Ajlun castle. The marvels of nature and the genius of medieval Arab military architecture have given northern Jordan two of the most important ecological and historical attractions in the Middle East: the sprawling pine forests of the Ajlun-Dibbine area, and the towering Ayyubid castle at Ajlun, which helped to defeat the Crusaders eight centuries ago. Locals often take advantage of the green landscapes of Ajlun to take a break from city life and connect with nature. After visiting the castle, we drove to Umm Qays.
Site of the famous miracle of the Gadarene swine, Gadara (known today as Umm Qays) was renowned in its time as a cultural centre. It was the home of several classical poets and philosophers. Perched on a splendid hilltop overlooking the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee, Umm Qays boasts an impressive colonnaded terrace and the ruins of two theatres. However, compared to the impressive ruins of Jerash that we would see later that day, Umm Qays was not as much. Following our short visit, it was time to head to our last sightseeing spot: Jerash.
Jerash is an amazing blend of Greco-Roman and Oriental influences. The city’s golden age came under Roman rule and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
After spending 8 amazing days in Jordan, it was finally time to return to Amman in order to fly back to Spain with a stopover in Istanbul. Thanks to everyone who made this trip a memorable one!
-Breakfast & dinner: thanks to our welcoming driver and his family, they treated us at Samawer again. What a feast!