Amman Citadel and Jerash (November 1, 2019)

Our day started with a float in the Dead Sea. We literally bobbed like corks and left super relaxed and wishing for more! We followed the posted instructions to the letter of the law. Float for 10 minutes. Coat entire body with mineral-rich mud (provided). Let mud dry for 15 minutes. Float for an additional 15 minutes allowing the mud to dissolve. Scrub with sea salt (provided), so your entire body feels like a baby’s bottom. Rinse. 

We could not go for round two in the Dead Sea, because we had two sites to visit before sunset at 5:00 o’clock. First stop: the Amman Citadel which dates back to the Bronze Age. We drove up to sea level and then up a further 2,800 feet. Perched 400 feet above the city center of Amman on one of the city’s seven hills, the Citadel offers great views of the countless white buildings stacked on the hillsides in the distance. A sea of white. In the distance we could see towering over the city what used to be the tallest freestanding flag in the world. (It is now the second tallest.) Flocks of domesticated doves circled over the city. Besides the ruins of a number of once-impressive buildings we particularly enjoyed the great view of the 6,000 seat amphitheater which the Romans built into the hillside. An impressive 250,000 gallon circular cistern was intact as well as a square stone meeting hall. The impressive thing about the meeting hall is the domed roof, metal on the outside and wood on the inside. Domes on square buildings were not easy to construct back in the day. Our new word for the day: pendentive, a triangular piece built into a domed ceiling above each corner of a square building. They stabilize a round dome on a square frame. Chew on that for awhile. The ceiling was beautiful. In contrast to this sophisticated architectural were burial caves. 

Before leaving the area we took a a quick look inside the archeology museum which houses rare artifacts found in and around Amman over the years. There were lots of cool things, but three caught my eye: adult-size baked-clay coffins; two rare headless pottery figures dating back to the second century AD showing a pregnant woman and a woman giving birth; and an infant buried in a jar. Archeologists believe that burial jars were commonly placed under the floor of the home to keep the child close to the family.

After another wonderful noon meal we went to Jerash. There are Roman ruins and then there are These Roman Ruins! We were all taken off guard. Founded by the soldiers of Alexander the Great during the 4th century BC, Jerash blossomed into a prosperous community known for its caravan trade, agriculture, and mining. By 150 AD the citizens were spending lavishly on homes, churches, hot and cold baths, a forum and stadium, temples, and monuments. After being hidden in the sand for centuries, it is now considered by many to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial cities outside of Italy. Hadrian’s Arch, built in 129 AD in honor of the emperor’s visit, is in wonderful shape. The hippodrome, with a capacity of 15,000, is amazing but not as eye catching as the huge circular forum with its 56 intact columns. Main thoroughfares are still paved with original stones, some rutted by chariots, and lined with columns. The theatre is in great shape too. It was fun to visit the butcher shop where the stone table legs and table top remain where they have been for centuries. We explored as long as we could and enjoyed the soft evening light on all the stone as we headed for the exit.

Our wonderful day ended on the patio at the hotel having dinner next to one of the pools with the moon and Dead Sea as a backdrop. A couple of cats were at our feet quietly asking for a nibble here and there.

… So What … 

In Roman times Amman was known as Philadelphia. I kid you not!

There is 8% more oxygen at the Dead Sea than at sea level. Again, no joke.

Jordan is 70% desert.

Men can have four wives.

The national flower is the black iris.




One thought on “Amman Citadel and Jerash (November 1, 2019)

  1. I still can’t believe that you got to float in the dead sea—I loved your pictures!!

    Matt Mongeon, PMP, Technical Project Manager II
    Engineering Management Office
    PMP,ITIL Foundation, RCV, OSA, SOA, PPO
    5159 Federal Blvd., San Diego, CA 92105
    • 619.266.5675 (ex. 55675) |( 619.822.4661 | •


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