23 May 2024


We departed Amman this morning at 7:30. It was like a typical Irish summer’s day; it was cold, rainy, windy and grey. My mood was also a bit grey as I didn’t really want to leave Amman. We trundled along in the bus for around 90 mins and then we stopped in the middle of nowhere. I was half asleep at the time. I heard Karen say ‘see you back here in about two and a half hours time. Is that enough time for you?’ I had no clue what she was talking about because I’ve not really been paying attention to what’s happening on the trip. As my life back home in Ireland is so organised and constrained by time and dates and agendas and diaries, I just love the freedom of not having to plan and have everything done for me. I basically just go with the flow and I don’t want to know what’s happening. I just want to be surprised every time and that’s worked really well because the organiser here is very very efficient and I’m confident that everything that needs to happen will happen so I just have to float along.

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However, today, I thought I might stay on the bus because it was nice and warm, instead of going out to look at some more ruins. I’m glad I didn’t.

Jerash was a very interesting place to visit. I have included some information from Wikipedia below.

The site was gigantic and I spent well over two and a half hours walking around. Unfortunately I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion. The temperature was about eight or nine degrees and I had no coat and was just wearing a fleece pullover and sandals with very thin socks. After about an hour I began to feel a bit cold but not too cold. Just cold enough to feel a little bit stiff but not cold enough to want to go back to the bus. So I persevered. After about 2.5hrs, I thought I’d best go back to the bus because I was cold and starting to shiver and make silly old man noises. I had an urge to tell everybody it was cold. I desisted.

I could easily have spent another couple of hours rambling around taking photos and marvelling at the inventiveness and resilience of humanity. I also wondered what archaeologists in the future might find left over from our society today. I wonder, in two thousand years time, will they find a vitrified piece of a mobile phone or some fossilised Big Mac bun as the sole remnants of our civilisation. Assuming, that is, that our civilisation lasts for another 2000 years.

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Jerash (Arabic: جرش Ǧaraš; Ancient Greek: Γέρασα Gérasa) is a city in northern Jordan. The city is the administrative centre of the Jerash Governorate, and has a population of 50,745 as of 2015. It is located 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of the capital city Amman.

Quick Facts
The earliest evidence of settlement in Jerash is in a Neolithic site known as Tal Abu Sowan, where rare human remains dating to around 7500 BCE were uncovered. Jerash flourished during the Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods until the mid-eighth century CE, when the 749 (CE) Galilee earthquake destroyed large parts of it, while subsequent earthquakes contributed to additional destruction. However, in the year 1120, Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin, atabeg of Damascus ordered a garrison of forty men to build up a fort in an unknown site of the ruins of the ancient city, likely the highest spot of the city walls in the north-eastern hills. It was captured in 1121 by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and utterly destroyed. Then, the Crusaders immediately abandoned Jerash and withdrew to Sakib (Seecip); the eastern border of the settlement.

Jerash was then deserted until it reappeared in the historical record at the beginning of Ottoman rule in the area during the early 16th century. In the census of 1596, it had a population of 12 Muslim households. However, archaeologists found a small Mamluk hamlet in the Northwest Quarter which indicates that Jerash was resettled before the Ottoman era. The excavations conducted since 2011 have shed light on the Middle Islamic period as recent discoveries have uncovered a large concentration of Middle Islamic/Mamluk structures and pottery. The ancient city has been gradually revealed through a series of excavations which commenced in 1925, and continue to this day.

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Jerash today is home to one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities, which earned it the nickname of “Pompeii of the Middle East”. Approximately 330,000 visitors arrived in Jerash in 2018, making it one of the most visited sites in Jordan. The city hosts the Jerash Festival, one of the leading cultural events in the Middle East that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerash?wprov=sfla1


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