History on the horizon

Looking towards the Sea of Galilee

Just back from an exhausting day of travel from our base in Amman to the north of Jordan’s sprawling capital city.

We started the morning travelling to the hills above the Jordan valley and the ruins of the decapolis city of Guadalajara – striking because it offers the remnants of a Roman city glimpsed beneath the ruins of an abandoned Ottoman-era village.

However, for me the visit made most impact as a tremendous vantage point with views of three countries.

Standing in Jordan l could look across the valley towards Syria and Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

While there, in the corner of my field of vision, the beginnings of the Sea of Galilee from where Jesus called fishermen to follow him as disciples.

We were invited by Jamal, our guide, to visit his home and meet his American-born wife Carol. We feasted on fresh figs, hummus, falafel, leavened bread and Turkish coffee. Such an honour.

Driving through pine forests and olive groves we moved onto Ajloun Castle – built in the 12th century by one of Saladin’s generals on top of a high mountain – and offering far reaching views.

A strategic link in a defensive chain established against the Crusaders. Pigeons were used to carry messages to other outposts – from Cairo to Damascus – in a single day.

But the highlight of the day was a trip to Jerash – often referred to as the ‘Pompeii of the East’ – one of the best preserved classical cities in the region.

If you want to observe the typical layout of a Roman city then look no further.

Here you get examples of all the classic Roman structures – the forum, theatre, hippodrome, temples and nymphaeum are easily spotted amongst the ruins.

I could not resist the temptation to try out the acoustics either!

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