Qasrs or Desert Castles

The desert castles or qasrs are often called Umayyad desert castles, since the vast majority of these fortified palaces or castles were built by the Umayyad Dynasty (between 661 and 750 AD). The desert castles are scattered over the semi-arid regions of north-eastern Jordan, our last region in Jordan to explore. Qasr Amra was built between 723 and 743, by Walid Ibn Yazid, the future Umayyad caliph …

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Mother of Camels

Umm Al-Jimal, meaning Mother of Camels, is a town just 10km from the Syrian border. We went there for the ruins of a Byzantine and early Islamic town, as well as an older Roman village, built from black Basalt rocks. A number of Greek and Nabataean inscriptions found on the site date the village to the first century AD as a rural suburb …

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Ajloun Castle and Forest

In the north of Jordan, we visited one more castle, this time not built by the Crusaders but by Izz al-Din Usama, a general in the army of Saladin in the 12th century at the site of an old monastery. The castle controlled traffic along the road connecting Damascus and Egypt. The fortress marks the furthest limit of Frankish incursions …

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Jerash

The earliest evidence of settlement in Jerash is from the Neolithic age, as human remains dating to around 7500 BC were uncovered in the area. The town flourished during the Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods until the earthquake from 749, which destroyed large parts of Jerash or ancient Gerasa. Today, it is one of the best preserved …

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Mount Nebo and the Mosaic City

When we left the Dead Sea, we first reached Mount Nebo, the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land before his death. Beside of the view from the mountain, the Christian church from Byzantine times was what brought us here. It was only rediscovered in 1933, but was first constructed in the second half of the 4th century …

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On the way to the Dead Sea

Our base north of Petra was at the Dana Nature Reserve, where we stayed for 2 nights at Al-Nawatef Camp. On the way, we visited Shoubak Castle, our first Crusader castle in Jordan. At the Dana Nature Reserve, hiking is a great way to explore the area. During our stay, the weather was quite bad, …

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The World Famous Petra

One of the highlights, which brought us to Jordan, was Petra, the capital of the Nabataean empire. We could park close to the entrance for the night and at 6.30 am, we were the first to enter the site. Completely alone could we stroll through the Siq, the narrow passage to the most iconic tomb, …

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