Wednesday, 12 April 2017

J is for... Jawad...and...Jordan.



is for

Eslam Jawad, a Syrian-Lebanese musician with this melodious number:





Jordan


Jordan takes its name from the River Jordan, and has stood at the crossroads of ancient civilisations and three continents for millennia.  The earliest archaeological evidence of human settlement goes as far back as 250,000 years, since Palaeolithic times.

Al Husseini Mosque, Amman. Built over a very old site where 
the first Caliph built a mosque in 640. 

The ruins of Jerash. First established in the 4th century BCE, either
by Alex G or his general Perdiccas. 

By 2000 BCE, nomadic Amonite tribes had established the kingdoms of Moab, Edom and Amon - all three find mention in the Bible and Ancient Egyptian papyri. Control over these territories passed back and forth from ancient Akkadians, Assyria, Egypt to Greece to Persia and Rome.  

The Treasury Building.  Petra. The Nabataeans 
created this rock-cut city around 300 BCE and
originally called it Raqmu.


The entrance to Petra is through this gorge known 
as the Siq.  The Nabataeans were expert engineers 
and great masters of water harvesting.  

Later, Arab tribes from southern Arabia, the Nabataeans, came to settle in Jordan and created one of the most astounding cities – Petra; and an enduring empire which became the centrepoint of trade.  This coexisted with Hellenistic kingdoms founded in the wake of Alexander the Great, the Greeks built cities like Philadelphia (Amman) and Geresa (Jerash) Gedara (Umm Qais) etc, before they were overthrown by the Romans in 63 CE. 

View from Mount Nebo.  Moses is said to have been shown the
Promised Land from this spot. The site is sacred to all three 

Abrahamic faiths.

Byzantine Basilica, Amman. 5-6th century.  Jordan is the site of
some of the earliest churches in the world.
In the 7th century, the Islamic Empire annexed Jordan in the Battle of Yarmouk. This was crucial territory for the winning of Damascus for the early Muslims. During Umayyad rule, several desert castles were built in Jordan and a large administrative palace in Amman. After the fall of the Umayyads, control passed onto the Abbasids, Fatimids and finally to the Ayyubids under Salahuddin ibn Ayyub who defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century. Subsequently, the Mamluks and then the Ottomans claimed the territory. 

Madaba Archaeological Park. Madaba is the site of the
Church of Virgin Mary, dated to the 6th century.


Mosaics from Madaba. Many of these mosaics were found under
the floors of local houses, and restored.  
It became a British Protectorate after the Arab Revolt and the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the close the WWI. The modern day Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, later renamed Jordan was recognised as an independent nation in 1946.

Aijloun.  The site of another of Salahuddin's castles. 

Wadi Rum.  The locales for some major Hollywood magic 
including Lawrence of Arabia and Rogue One. Also a major 
desert adventure tourist destination.

The Dead Sea. Earth's lowest elevation on land. More than
1400 ft below sea level. 
Jordan is considered among the freest, safest and most progressive of Arab nations, though it is a constitutional monarchy.  It is one of the two Arab states which has signed a peace treaty with Israel, and has successfully avoided long term instability and problems of extremism relatively better than the others.  It has been an asylum for refugees in the region from 1948 onwards – initially Palestinian and currently Syrian and Iraqi.

Ruins of Gedara, at Umm Qais.  Also the site of the 'Gadarene 
swine' story of Jesus Christ's ministry in the Gospels.  

Tourism is a cornerstone of its modern economy. Because of its importance to all three Abrahamic faiths, it is a significant pilgrimage destination. It is also a major medical tourism destination in the ME due to its well-developed health sector. 


Did you know Jordan is among the top ten countries hosting refugees according to an Amnesty International report? As per AI, 10 nations host more than 56% of the refugees across the world, and they account for less than 2.5% of the global economy. Isn't that surprising? I certainly got a Jolt.





Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 

52 comments:

  1. Your posts are very informative and the photos are amazing. I like how you end each piece with a bit of 'did you know?' information :)

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    1. The ME is generally a very photogenic place :) Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  2. I always root for Jordan. They are small but so strategic in a tough area. Quite a jolt indeed

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    1. Among the monarchies in the region, Jordan's been quite proactive in terms of reform and all. And their queen is a lady of some serious substance.

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  3. I am ashamed of my country on the refugee/asylum seeker front.
    Jordan is another of the places my partner has visited and loved. And marvelled at.

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    1. Jordan is kind of awe-inspiring like that - I was quite gobsmacked at the artefacts in their National Museum, tools and stuff used by humans some 80-90,000 years old, uff makes my head spin, the history and the richness. Loved it too.

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  4. At last, somewhere I have visited! However, I learned mroe about Jordan through your words than I did on my visit, and for that I thank you.

    Another day in Amble Bay!

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    1. Thank you! Now that's a compliment to brighten my day!:)

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  5. Nice post! A friend of mine recently traveled to Jordan and her pictures are just splendid! Your post also tells the same tale. I would love to visit this place someday. seems like one of the best travel destinations!
    Thanks for sharing
    Best Wishes!

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    1. It's truly a beautiful place, and the history is amazing. Recommended! :)

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  6. Wow! I had no idea about how peaceful and beautiful Jordan is! Loved the fact about them being hospitable to refugees - thats an aamzing tid bit to know about!
    Great share Nilanjana!!
    Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
    J is for Japanese dancers in the hot sands of Pushkar #atozchallenge

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    1. I had read about Palestinians settled in Amman, but did not know about the Syrians/Iraqis. Vaguely read about the border camps, had no inkling of the sheer numbers. One learns a lot, byproduct of the A-Z.

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  7. Thank you for a wonderful visit toe Jordan, The post was excellent , most interesting read and awesome photo's.

    Yvonne.

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  8. Jordan is the one place in the middle east that I've always wanted to visit so thank you for this tour. Maybe one day I'll make it there.

    Pamela @ Highlands Days of Fun

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    1. I hope you do. Jordan's a great place to visit.

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  9. Hi Nila - I need time to read ... so I'll be back nearer the weekend ... such is life - but I am so enjoying your posts ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Yeah, I am falling a bit behind with my reading schedule too...hoping to catch up on Sunday :) See you.

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  10. Once again thank you for opening up my eyes to another destination and also pointing out their attitude towards humanitarian aid that puts most of us as "Westerners" to shame - more should be perhaps broadcast about this!
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

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    1. Hosting refugees has its own peculiar pressures, and Jordan has to manage that. Not much in the press about it as you said.

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  11. Jordan is a bit of an underrated gem in the Middle East. Every now and then, I hear little bits and pieces about how progressive it is, and there are plenty of Jordan Tourism ads, but there is so much more to it than that.

    You're quite a wellspring of information!

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    1. The whole of the ME is an underrated gem if you ask me. The depth and breadth of history is mind boggling! Unfortunately the political situation majorly affects tourism, unless that stabilises the numbers can't be restored.

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  12. Great post. Beautiful pics. This is a bit off topic. But many young Americans are not even familiar with the difference between an Israeli and Palestinian . Educating people about the conflicts among people in regions over Art, relics and history is very important.

    http://theglobaldig.blogspot.com/2017/04/j-is-for-jaunty-dance-books.html

    @trincarl

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    1. Not off topic at all! Agree totally! Very important young generations know who is who and what is what. They are the ones who will correct the balance because it certainly doesn't look like my generation will be able to complete that work.

      Thanks for sharing your views!

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  13. Nilanjana, I had visited Amman, Petra, Jerash, and Madaba way back in 2009. Your narration and photos gave me a free trip down the memory lane!
    A land locked country Jordan, I remember clearly, a note in the bathroom of our hotel... a note insisting on not wasting water and not sending the bath towels for laundry every day!
    Thanks dear!
    ------------------------------
    Anagha From Team MocktailMommies
    Collage Of Life

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    1. Glad it refreshed pleasant memories, Anagha! I have lovely ones of my trip there too. Jordan is almost landlocked though. It does have a very tiny length of coastline and a most strategically located port on it - Aqaba. But that note about water conservation? relevant all through the desert countries of ME.

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  14. I was just looking for a collection of tales from Jordan yesterday... it was not easy to find one in English. I would love to visit one day!

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

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    1. Yes, not much of Arab literature and folk-lore is available in translation, compounded by the fact that much of the pre-Islamic ones got discarded anyways. I found that while I was researching for my 'F' post :) Jordan however does preserve its pre-Islamic monuments and artefacts with great care - totally worth visiting!

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  15. Reading your posts is like discovering a new world, every day .
    Happy to know about Jordan's spirit of tolerance and its stand on refugees.
    Moon
    https://aslifehappens60.wordpress.com

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    1. Each country is kind of a world packed with history and stuff to explore! :)

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  16. What a wealth of information about Jordan! Thank you.

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  17. Such a gift you're giving us with these educational posts! There's so much to absorb and ponder. And I, too, was amazed by the AI information. Wow.

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    1. Yeah, that was somewhat mind blowing. But on second thoughts, it shouldn't be - it is mostly those who possess the least who have the largest hearts, I guess that applies to nations as well as individuals.

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  18. What a gorgeous voice, and what amazing scenery. One begets the other, possibly.

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    1. That's an idea! Hadn't occurred to me, but you're probably right.

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  19. J is for Joy, which is what this post brought me. Thank you so much for taking us on this eye opening tour.

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    1. I visited a few years back, the refugee crisis hadn't got to the mammoth proportions it has got to now, definitely more joyful times. Thanks for being here Martin!

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  20. How soothing to be serenaded by Eslam Jawad while learning so much about Jordon. Thanks for sharing such lovely photographs also. Interesting picture of the entrance to Petra.

    Musings Over Poetry

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    1. Very dramatic - that entrance! Thanks for visiting.

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  21. What an amazing history it's had. Glad it still acts as a place of refuge.

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    1. The Middle East is where civilisation started, so... every country here has its own share of history - phenomenal!

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  22. Your text and pictures of Jordan are very inspiring. I would like to visit that country so much!
    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures

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    1. It's a beautiful country to visit, very unlike the Gulf - we had snow on the pavements of Amman when we went - thrilled! :) Much to see and absorb. You'll love it!

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  23. Oh my goodness - I am so ignorant of so much in the world. That photo of the entrance to Petra and of the treasury building are amazing. I had never ever thought of visting this area but boy I would like to see it now!

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    1. It is a beautiful part of the world, you'll enjoy your visit...thanks for stopping by!

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  24. Your pictures are beautiful and wonderful to see. I will put Jordan on my fantasy place to see. I know my big traveling days are over. But a girl can hope.

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    1. Yeah, no harm in planning :) I am always planning mini itineraries for places that I know I am most unlikely to visit in this lifetime..

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  25. An amazing amount of history. I have so much to learn. And snow! (not that there isn't enough snow in the winter, where I live in upstate New York.) Enjoying this series; happy I discovered you earlier in A to Z.

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    1. Indeed, anywhere you go in the ME, has amazing history going back really deep. Snow is, of course not a novelty in NY, I understand from friends and family that it can get tiresome having too much snow (!) But here we are used to think most of the ME countries as 'deserts' and therefore 'scorching hot.' It was a wonderful surprise to find snow in Amman :)

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