42 Photos - Feb 10, 2009
Photo: Photo: We left Jerusalem at 7:30 in the morning and were taken to the border crossing into Jordan.  Security was complex involving more than one vehicle, multiple checks of documents and luggage.  Finally, we crossed the Jordan River and entered Jordan. There, we were met by a new guide/driver who soon took us up into the mountains of Jordan.Photo: Finally, we arrived at the Ajlun Castle, built in the 12th century. The castle was built to protect against Crusader attacks.Photo: The castle permitted control of the road between Damascus and EgyptPhoto: The views of the Jordan countryside from the castle were spectacular.Photo: The castle was one of a chain of castles that in olden times could sequentially transmit messages from Damascus to Cairo in twelve hours.Photo: The Crusaders never conquered this castle.Photo: The castle is full of meandering staircases, all of which were designed to thwart invaders.Photo: Photo: Photo: We encountered these guards of the castle about halfway through our visit.Photo: In the 13th century, the Mongols destroyed a portion of the castle but it was later rebuilt.Photo: Photo: The castle was victimized by significant earthquakes in both the 19th and 20th centuries.  Some of the rubble is shown here.Photo: On the way out, we snapped a photo with one of the guards.Photo: After leaving the castle, we journeyed to a nearby restaurant for lunch.  There, our guide insisted we take a look at the kitchen.Photo: Among other things, the oven made outstanding bread.Photo: The finished product after bakingPhoto: Our second tour of the day took us to Jerash, called the Pompeii of the East.Photo: This is perhaps the largest area of ruins we have ever seen.Photo: One of the great mathematicians, Nicomachus, who wrote the Introduction to Arithmetic, lived here.Photo: Excavations in Jerash began in the 1920s.Photo: In the theater, whispering into this stone cavity could be heard across the theater in another stone cavity--the acoustics were remarkable.Photo: The theater stagePhoto: Looking away from the ruins towards modern Jerash.  Today's population is about 30,000.Photo: Jerash became an urban center in the 3rd century B.C.Photo: It gained semi-independent status in the Roman province of Syria.Photo: Jerash also prospered due to its location on the spice route between the Arabian Peninsula and Syria.Photo: Beautiful mosaics on some of the building floorsPhoto: The scale of this archeological site is huge.Photo: The Temple of Artemis--Artemis was the patron goddess of the city.Photo: Some consider these columns to be the finest example of Corinthian columns preserved in the world today.Photo: Corinthian detail on the columnsPhoto: The site has periodically experienced severe earthquakes; these columns probably cannot withstand another.Photo: The Temple of Artemis was built in the 2nd century A.D.Photo: Restoration continues throughout the site.Photo: Looking away from the Temple of Artemis towards the modern townPhoto: Walking along the Cardo, a main paved street which is about 2,000 feet long.  The major buildings were on this street.  Chariot tracks are visible in the pavement.Photo: The Nymphaeum dedicated to the Nymphs.  It was built in 191 A.D. and was a huge fountain.Photo: A stone manhole cover in the Cardo leading to a drainage system below the street.Photo: Another view of the Cardo MaximusPhoto: An olive press