Jerash, Aljoun Castle, and Umm Qais

Columns and Stones at Jerash

Rocks! Ruins! Get excited.

As I mentioned, last Friday we went on a day trip to the ruins of Jerash, Aljoun Castle, and Umm Qais. Above, you can see some of the ruins at Jerash.

Gate at Jerash

Jerash is one of the larger cities of the ancient world, and was at various points occupied by both the the Greeks and Romans. Above is the South Gate.

Jerash

Here’s an overview of a small portion of the site. It’s both well preserved and restored, as much of the city was destroyed by an earthquake in the eighth century. You can even pay to see chariot races in the hippodrome, although I did not.

Street in Jerash

A street running through the ancient city of Jerash.

Aljoun Castle

We next took the bus to Aljoun Castle — a massive Ayyubid fortress on Jabal Auf. The castle was built by the nephew of Saladin to protect the Jordan valley from Crusader attacks. Apparently the castle was still used by Ottoman forces until the 18th or 19th century.

Getting Pictures Taken at Aljoun Castle

I don’t typically like having my picture taken.

Looking out from Aljoun Castle

Just some Jordanians sitting on top of a castle.

Umm Qais

Umm Qais is another ancient Roman city full of Roman ruins.

Umm Qais

Like many other Roman ruins, there are lots of columns. A downside of organizing trips like this ourselves means that we have guide to actually tell us about things. :(

Umm Qais

According to Wikipedia, this is part of the ruins of a church.

Sunset at Umm Qais

We ate dinner at a restaurant at the top of the ruins at Umm Qais. From these hills you can see Syria, Israel, and the Golan Heights. The Sea of Galilee is on the left here, and at the top of the hills on the right is the Golan. It’s a really beautiful view. If had been brighter we might have even been able to see the mountains between Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

Tomorrow and Friday night I’ll be staying with a Bedouin family near Mafraq in Northern Jordan. That will be different, to say the least.