August 2, 2001 – Amman – Jerash - Amman




I don’t wake up very early this morning may be it the consequence from all the last tired days. This night was very cold, I was not used to it. I had no blanket so I didn’t sleep well. It is very strange to feel that cold whereas the temperature sould not have fallen below 18-20° C. I ask Samir for a blanket. This cold is also very strange because the sunrise brings a terrible heat even at 7 am. So be careful and chose the right place if you can!!


I have breakfast in the lounge where I speak to 3 French who are also going to Jerash today. At 11am, we take a shared taxi to Abdali Station (200 fils per person) where we catch a bus to Jerash (400 fils). The entrance of the site is JD 5 and the use of the ISIC Card is over, no more student price and we become simple tourists. We buy the tickets and we walk around the shops where Laurent finds a book, he was looking after in France. At one shop we make this picture with a red and white Keffieh.


Jerash : With Aurelie and Laurent


The site of Jerash is wonderful and well preserved as it was built between 175 and 164 before Christ. The city is at his highest level in the 2nd century and 25,000 inhabitants lived there. There are the rests of 15 churches on the site which turned out into ruins after a seism in the middle of the 7th century. A lot of work is going on from the end of the 19th century to restore the site and consolidate the remains and to raise again some of them like the Artemis temple entrance. When we were there, they were restoring the Hadrian Arch at the main entrance and the hippodrome.


We enter really the site a few hundreds meters from this arch by the south gate. Thereafter, we are arriving at the oval place with all the columns around and on the right there is the beginning of the Cardo Maximus. On the left (where I take the picture), there is the Zeus temple and the great theater.


Jerash : The oval place


A music festival is airing every year during summer time, today, it is possible to see an Iraqi singer on the stage of the theater. As there is not a lot of tourists, we test the acoustics of the theater so I start our nation anthem, La Marseillaise with a great audience: Jordan soldiers.


From the oval place, we take the cardo maximus (800m long) to the entrance of the Artemis temple. On the pavement we can clearly notice the tracks of the caravans that used this axis. You can now imagine the life at that time with shops and markets on both side. Two tetrapyles mark the main crossroads; the first one is under restoration whereas the second one at the end is in a perfect shape.


Jerash : Cardo Maximus


On our way, we reach a door that leads to many stairs and the Artemis temple. The reformed pediment is on the ground waiting to be raised again. The temple suffered a lot from the earthquake but you can see the dimensions of the sanctuary that surrounds it (36 columns long and 26 columns wide). Artemis was the goddess who protects the city. 12 columns of 13m high precede the temple.


Jerash : Artemis temple in the background


On the right of the temple there is the second theater. It is smaller than the other one but it is the second stage for the summer festival.


Finally we spent 4 hours on the site with Laurent as our Champollion of the 21st century, describing the Greek alphabet on the monuments.


In Amman, Laurent has to go to the airport because Aurelie is going back to France. At the hotel, I meet the Danish girls who were with me in the bus between Tartus and Homs. I follow them because they know a cheap place to be connected to internet for JD 1 per hour instead of JD 2 in other places.





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D1 : Lyons – Damascus

D2 : Damascus (1)  (2)

D3 : Damascus

D4 : Damascus – Palmyra

D5 : Palmyra – Hama

D6 : Hama – Apamea – Aleppo

D7 : Aleppo

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D24 : Petra

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D28 : Aqaba

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D32 : Aqaba - Amman

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