Friday, September 21, 2012

Where Jesus Walked

Our travels today in Jordan have us starting at Umm Qais (Gadara, in ancient times). This is possibly where the miracle of the Gadarene swine happened (Mt. 8:28-32). It has a rich political history as well. Here people can stand at the junction of Syria, Israel, and Jordan and look down on the Sea of Galilee.

Next, we tour Anjara, which has an active Christian community. Our time here will include a visit to Our Lady of the Mountain shrine, located near where Elijah the Tishbite was born. The shrine is the only one devoted to Mary in the country, and it attracts many pilgrims annually. Tradition says that Jesus and his mother, along with the disciples, rested in a cave here while journeying from Jerusalem back to Galilee. The itinerary also has us visiting an orphanage here.   

Jerash (ancient Gerasa), like Umm Qais, is the site of one of the ten cities of the ancient Decapolis, this one located in the "region of the Garasenes." The Decapolis was a group of ten Roman/Greek cities located in an otherwise Semitic area. Many consider Jerash one of the best-preserved provincial towns in the world. The photo above I took on my last trip of the remains of Artemis's temple there.

In the evening we have an optional tour of Rainbow Street's historical district. Located near downtown Amman, it contains several landmarks including the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and the British Council building.  It is also home to sites of Jordan's history, including the home of a former king. Today it houses numerous shops. Scarves, anyone?

Disclosure: The Jordan Tourism Board is covering most of the expenses for this trip, though it exercises no influence over what we say or write about it.

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