Saturday, April 10, 2010


We all enjoyed our four day field trip to Jordan. We crossed the Allenby (aka King Hussein) bridge near Jericho and headed up to Mt . Nebo. The highlight there was singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot. We then visited the mostly Christian Arab city of Madaba with its famous 6th century Byzantine mosaic of the holy land. It includes a map of Jerusalem that is the earliest cartographic depiction of the city. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the gold domed structure in the lower center of the walled city. The Roman era, pillar lined cardo transects the city from north to south.
Notice the Dead Sea (with boat) and Jordan River (with fish swimming up stream to avoid ending up dead in the Dead Sea). Marie and I bought a mosaic of the Jerusalem map.
The highlands of Jordan were green following the winter rains. We drove south via the desert highway--still used by the US military to supply troops in Iraq.
We had a fun visit climbing over the ruins of the Crusader built Shobbak Castle.
Next morning we visited fabulous Petra--now at the top of Joel's top ten list. Here we are walking in to the Nabatean City through the slot canyon called the Siq.
The slot canyon opens up on the magnificent Treasury.

From there the canyon widens to include a Roman style theater and many tombs all cut into the red sandstone.
We hiked up 800 rock steps to the Monastery.
It is huge.
Beyond that we reached the "end of the world" where we could look down on the Arava (the rift valley) with Israel in the distance. During the war years between Jordan and Israel, adventurous Israelis would sneak across the border and climb up this escarpment to see the monastery and have their picture taken before sneaking back to Israel.
We also visited the urn tomb.
Inside the tomb with its beautiful sandstone.
The door to the tomb provided a good location for a jump photo--three Emmetts, plus Tanner Manscill-the 16 year old son of the other religion professor.
The admission price includes a horse ride during the last third of the journey out.

Next day we visit the Roman city of Jerash. It was one of the cities of the Decapolis. Will walking along the cardo.

The temple of Artemis. The Theater with the forum, cardo, and temple beyond
My class sang Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree and Do as I'm Doing for the school children visiting the theater. Then four Jordanian musicians marched around with their regular entertainment of Yankee Doodle and other favorites.

There were bus loads of Jordanian school girls visiting Jerash. They loved to try out their English skills on all of us. Very friendly. They danced the debka to the bagpipe music. Some of our students joined in. Years ago BYU's Young Ambassadors performed on this stage as part of Queen Nur's Jerash art festival.
In the ancient hippodrome, we then enjoyed learning about Roman warfare,
Roman gladiators (this guy got the thumbs down and soon fake blood came squirting out)
and Roman Charioteers.

A delicious lunch at the Green Valley restaurant. Tasty salads, dips and freshly baked pita.

The Jabbok River where Jacob wrestled with an Angel, received a new name and saw the Lord face to face.
A mall in Amman. Most Jordanian women wear the hijab so it was interesting to see what was being sold to wear under their long coverings.
Next day we visited the King Hussein Mosque in downtown Amman. It was built right across the street from a Coptic church as a sign of religious tolerance.
All the woman had to wear a black robe and keep their heads covered. Cute!

The modern sky line of Amman. It is a clean, modern very livable city.
The citadel/ high place of ancient Amman/Philadelphia. It is here that David sent Uriah to his death to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba. It is also at high places like this that the ancient people of Ammon sacrificed children to their god Molech.
Looking down on the Roman Theater of Philadelphia
Last stop--Bethabara beyond Jordan. A likely place for the baptism of Jesus. During the war years this was a heavily fortified military zone. Now Jordan has aggressively promoted their side of the Jordan as the baptismal site.
Several new churches have been built.
The Jordan River with the newly built Israeli baptismal site on the other bank. The border between Israel and Jordan runs down the middle of the river.
The less than mighty Jordan River is hidden by the trees. Beyond the Israeli baptismal site you can still see a military lookout on the nob/hill. We then crossed back into Israel in what was the easiest border crossing into Israel I have ever had! I think it helped to be traveling with three cute kids.


  1. Many thanks for the post - it brought back many memories of our trip in 1982. The pictures I have of the column's at Jerash were taken at night with a small sliver of the moon showing. Petra hasn't changed much in the intervening years - still works of art.

  2. For a second I thought you were blogging about Moab... very nice, all of it.

  3. Yay! You made the hike to the Monastery! There was a heat wave passing through when we visited and I about died during that hike.