In the words of the old gospel song. we “went down” Jordan in 2007 with the Qatar Natural History Group. We were living in Qatar at that time as I was engaged in the task of liberalising the Qatar telecoms market. The Natural History Group consisted mainly of expats working in Qatar and they organised visits to interesting natural and historical areas both inside and outside Qatar.
Our first stop was in Amman where we visited the citadel with its Umayyad Palace. The photo on the right below, taken in the palace, contains what I call the ‘Finger of God’ pointing towards Heaven.
At Umm Qais we saw the heights and had views into Israel, Lebanon and Syria. In the second photo on the right below a chap is using a tea dispenser, often seen in the Middle East, to pour a cup of tea in an unusual manner.
Umm Qais was once called Gadara and was the site where the Gadarene Swine incident took place.
We also visited the desert palace (literally in the middle of nowhere) at Qasr al Kharanah where we saw those rusty desert colours so much a feature of Jordan.
The next destination, Karak, contained a Crusader Castle, not dissimilar to the one at Krak Des Chevaliers shown in my article about Syria
It must be recorded that Karak contains a statue of Saladin, the arch enemy of the Crusaders, on a horse in the centre of the city.
Petra is the site of an ancient city built by the Nabataeans. The main area of interest is approached through a very narrow canyon called the Siq. This is best walked, but if you are anxious to get to the main attractions you can speed along in a horse and trap with the local Bedouin, reminding me very much of their counterparts in Ireland. All of this leads to the classic view of the famous Petra Treasury Building seen through the narrow slit of the Siq.
Beyond the Treasury lie other buildings, tombs and arches.
Again, there is a choice of walking or taking the local modes of transport courtesy of the Bedouin.
The little fellow on the donkey in the last photo is not offering transport, but is, in fact, herding goats.
Finally on to Wadi Rum which is familiar to fans of the film Lawrence of Arabia some of which was shot there. On the way in to Wadi Rum one can view the ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ rock formation. This was the title of the book by T.E. Lawrence on which the film was based.
I actually preferred Wadi Rum to Petra as, for obvious reasons, it was much less crowded. In addition, the red sand and rock formations were absolutely stunning.
You can stay (we did not) in Bedouin tents at Wadi Rum, but I would suggest that anyone wanting to do so should check out the local climatic and natural conditions as well as the facilities available. I would also suggest that a good guide
The photos above were generally taken with a Nikon D2Xs which is a sturdy professional type camera ideal for the conditions in Jordan. However, a camera of that size and weight would not suit me at all 12 years later.